The Standard Journal
Georgia Tech rolls past No. 21 North Carolina, 45-22
ATLANTA — No. 21 North Carolina, a two-touchdown favorite, got roughed up at Georgia Tech in a 45-22 loss likely to plummet the Tar Heels right out of the top 25 polls.
The Heels (2-2, 1-2 ACC) got off to a quick start thanks to a deflected punt that only went 12 yards. They quickly converted favorable field position into a 7-0 lead on Sam Howell’s highlight reel run.
Howell juked the first wouldbe tackler Derrik Allen and ran through contact of Juanyeh Thomas. As cornerback Tobias Oliver and safety Wesley Walker converged on him, he spun out of their grasp. He then slid out of the arms of linebacker Ayinde Eley en route to a 23-yard score.
That was the last time Georgia Tech’s defense would look so clumsy on a series. In fact, it was the Tar Heels thrown off balance any their own mistakes.
UNC receiver Khafre Brown dropped a pass in the second quarter that he would have likely scored on and instead they ended up with no points on the drive. Guard Ed Montilius was called for a false start as Grayson Atkins made a 48-yard field goal on fourth down. Backed up another five yards for a 53-yard attempt, Atkins pulled his kick wide left.
Howell had two fumbles in the second quarter that both led to Georgia Tech points. Jordan Domineck stripped Howell on a run and Quez Jackson returned the ball 23 yards to set up a Yellow Jackets’ field goal.
Georgia Tech (2-2, 1-1) took the lead for good after Djimon Brooks forced a second Howell fumble just before his knee hit the ground. Linebacker Demetrius Knight II returned the fumble 37 yards before tripping and falling on his own at the UNC 17.
The Jackets changed quarterbacks to Jeff Sims after Jordan Yates played the first quarter and a half. Sims capitalized on the turnover with an 11-yard scoring run and a 13-7 lead.
Sims finished with 128 yards rushing and three touchdowns including a 50-yarder, which is the longest UNC has allowed an opponent all season.
Carolina’s first drive of the second half summed up its offensive frustrations in the game. Running back Ty Chandler had a 9-yard run on first down to the UNC 41. The Heels spent three downs trying to get one yard for the first down. Chandler was stopped twice for no gain. On fourth down, Howell was dropped for a two-yard loss. The Jackets, operating on a short field, took possession and scored a touchdown and the Heels were never within one touchdown again.
Georgia Tech had only three sacks in its first three games, but would have that many in the second quarter alone. The Heels allowed eight total and now sit with 17 for the season. UNC entered the game tied for 11th in the ACC in sacks allowed.