CHAPEL HILL, NC— Zach Gibson threw for 174 yards and Georgia Tech had 21 unanswered points for a 21-17 away win over No. 13 North Carolina on Saturday.
Georgia Tech (Atlantic Coast Conference 5-6, 4-4) was down 17-0 late in the first half but began moving the ball methodically. All three scoring drives were for more than 68 yards and culminated in rushing touchdowns.
A 6-yard score on the floor by Hassan Hall with just over 11 minutes left in the fourth quarter proved the ticket to the Yellow Jackets, who kept their bowl hopes alive and settled to 4- under interim coach Brent Key. 3 improved.
North Carolina (9-2, 6-1 ACC) was on a six-game winning streak to secure the ACC’s Coastal Division last week. Towards the end of the fourth quarter, however, the Tar Heels had a chance to regain the lead Josh Downs dropped a 4th and 11th pass from the quarterback Drake Maye in the end zone with just over four minutes to go.
Maye, who had emerged as a possible Heisman contender as a redshirt freshman, failed to score a touchdown for the first time this season. He was also fired six times by Georgia Tech, three of them via Keion White.
After UNC took a 17-0 lead by just over three minutes in the first half, Georgia Tech kept the heels on 97 yards of offense in their last 33 games.
THE TAKE AWAY
Georgia Tech: For the second time this season, the Yellow Vests were unfazed away against a top-flight opponent. Georgia Tech’s even performance on offense (187 passing yards and 186 rushing yards) handicapped UNC, and the Yellow Jacket defense did something few have done against UNC’s offense this year: Limit the big plays and defend well in the red zone.
UNC: The Tar Heels looked flat on offense for most of the night. After running back Elijah Greens 80-yard rushing score on their first game from scrimmage, they rallied just 285 yards the rest of the night and scored just 10 points in four red-zone visits.
The Tar Heels are likely to record a significant drop after failing against a Georgia Tech team that has lost three of their last four. The loss also effectively ends every outside shot the Tar Heels had to keep tabs on the college football playoffs.
Georgia Tech: The Yellow Jackets meet rivals Georgia, the nation’s top-ranked team, on Saturday.
UNC: The Tar Heels host rival North Carolina State on Friday.