North Carolina: 16
Georgia Tech: 13
Coming off of its first loss in five weeks, Georgia Tech would face its second straight top-five opponent when it hosted the fifth-ranked North Carolina Tar Heels on a Thursday night in Atlanta.
The Tar Heels had won the previous meeting 16-0 in Chapel Hill one year earlier to redeem a 27-25 loss to the Jackets in 1995. The victory gave Carolina a narrow lead in the all-time series with a record of 15-14-3.
North Carolina opened the game with a 10 play, 53 yard drive before stalling at the Georgia Tech 27 yard line. Brian Schmitz then came on to give the Tar Heels a 3-0 lead with his 44 yard field goal with 11:33 to play in the opening period.
The Jackets wasted no time in answering, as Joe Hamilton led a drive to the Carolina 25 yard line, from whence Dave Frakes connected from 42 yards out the knot the game at 3-all just 1:47 later.
Tech threatened again on their next possession, but again stalled just inside the Tar Heel 30. Frakes returned to hit a 45 yard field goal to put Tech on top 6-3 late in the first quarter.
Carolina’s offense came to life on the series to follow when it marched 79 yards in 17 plays before eventually stalling around the Ramblin’ Wreck 3 yard line. Josh McGee then connected on a 20 yard field goal that tied the game at 6-6 just over three minutes into the second quarter.
The remainder of the first half saw no further scoring, and the Jackets headed to the break tied with the nation’s 5th ranked team.
Much of the third quarter passed with little action before the Tar Heels struck a blow midway through the period. Oscar Davenport methodically led Carolina 39 yards in 10 plays before going deep to L.C. Stevens for a 30 yard touchdown pass that made it 13-6 with 7:13 to play.
The Ramblin’ Wreck offense continued to struggle as time ticked away, failing to muster up a productive drive as play carried into the fourth quarter.
McGee increased the Tar Heel lead to ten when he connected from 31 yards out with roughly ten minutes to play in the contest. The score capped off an 11 play, 80 yard drive and left Carolina with a 16-6 advantage.
Hamilton eventually woke up the Yellow Jacket offense and led them to a score when he found Charlie Rogers for a four yard touchdown late in the fourth quarter. But the rally proved to be too little, too late, as the Tar Heels recovered Tech’s onside kick attempt and consumed the remainder of the clock for the victory.
Carolina would put its 8-0 record on the line one week later when it played host to the undefeated, third-ranked Florida State Seminoles in Chapel Hill. The Tar Heels were completely out manned by the Seminoles, however, falling behind 17-0 in the first half before eventually succumbing by a 20-3 final. Despite the loss, Carolina would go on to win the remainder of its games and defeat the Virginia Tech Hokies 42-3 in the Gator Bowl on New Year’s Day. The 11-1 finish tied for the most wins in school history.
UNC – 23
GT – 12
UNC – 161
GT – 28
UNC – 26-41-360
GT – 15-25-158
UNC – 2
GT – 1
UNC – 3-1
GT – 2-0
UNC – 8-64
GT – 6-45
USA Today Recap: http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/sports/scores97/97303/97303311.htm