The Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets fell to 1-4 with a crushing 38-22 loss to the University of North Carolina. The Yellow Jackets are entering ACC play on a 3 game skid and look to be reeling.
The Tar Heels were looking to keep their momentum going after almost upsetting Clemson last weekend. North Carolina came into Bobby Dodd Stadium as 10 point favorites, but they looked sloppy for much of the first half.
Both offenses gave away opportunity after opportunity and couldn’t seem to break the game open. Carolina’s first possession saw Junior Wide Receiver Dazz Newsome drop a would-be touchdown pass from Freshman Quarterback Sam Howell. Howell would throw an INT to Georgia Tech Defensive End Antwan Owens on the next play.
Georgia Tech would also miss a clear scoring opportunity on its first drive. Redshirt Freshman Quarterback James Graham overthrew a wide-open Malachi Carter on 3rd down. The Sophomore wideout would have walked into the end zone.
Though both sides began in a shaky fashion, it was clear that North Carolina was the better team. At the end of the first quarter, the score was only 3-0 in favor of the Tar Heels, but they had outgained Georgia Tech 147-40 in total yards. The first downs were 10-3 in favor of Carolina.
Georgia Tech would have a hard time in this one due to their inability to protect Graham. Tech has two starting offensive linemen, Kenny Cooper and Jahaziel Lee, out with season-ending injuries, and these holes were exploited by UNC.
Though Graham was only sacked twice, he was picking himself up off the dirt all day. The young QB struggled to find a rhythm amidst the pressure.
Carolina’s offense came alive in the 2nd as Howell began to pick apart a Georgia Tech defense that entered the game ranked No. 5 in passing yards allowed per game (136.8 ypg).
Howell led the Tar Heels on an 11 play, 68-yard drive for their first touchdown of the day. He would burn the Georgia Tech blitz to find Newsome up the seam. Howell would finish the game 33-51, racking up 376 yards, 4 TDs, and 1 INT. Carolina led 17-0 at the half behind Howell’s strong quarter.
The Georgia Tech passing attack did not fare as well. Graham would finish 11-24 for just 171 yards, 2 TDs, and 2 INTs. He did, however, lead the Yellow Jackets on their best drive of the season. Tech went on a 5 play, 78-yard drive in the 3rd quarter that culminated in a 28- yard strike from Graham to Carter to make it 17-7.
Carter walked into the end zone untouched as night fell in Bobby Dodd stadium. The Georgia Tech hopeful were as loud as they’ve been all year.
A methodical 14 play, 77-yard drive by North Carolina quieted the crowd. The Tar Heels would make it 24-7 with 14:18 left to go in the game. From there, the end was a foregone conclusion.
North Carolina’s offensive line pounded a tired Georgia Tech defense, and the Tar Heels’ running game squeezed the Jackets. The combined rushing attack of Sophomore Javonte Williams and Junior Michael Carter totaled 211 yards and one touchdown.
Tech would try to keep the game close by scoring one more touchdown through the air and one on the ground, but Carolina proved to be too much. They would score twice more behind Howell’s arm and put the game out of reach.
Georgia Tech will be in action against Duke next weekend and will look to right the ship as they continue with conference play.