2002 Season

2002-09-28 – Georgia Tech at North Carolina

Georgia Tech at North Carolina - 2002

Georgia Tech at North Carolina – September 28, 2002

Georgia Tech: 21
North Carolina: 13

Shooting for its fourth win of the season, Georgia Tech headed to Chapel Hill, North Carolina to renew its annual matchup with the North Carolina Tar Heels. The Heels entered the game at 1-2, having dropped Syracuse 30-22 for its lone win of the season two weeks prior. Recent victories had given Tech a narrow one-game lead in the all-time series at 17-16-3, as North Carolina’s last victory over the Jackets came in the form of a 16-13 decision in Chapel Hill in 1997.

The Jackets looked sharp at first, marching from their own 20 into Carolina territory on the opening possession before the drive went awry. An illegal block in the back first pushed Tech back to its own 44, where, facing 2nd-and-23, A.J. Suggs threw an interception to Michael Waddell that was returned 33 yards to the Ramblin’ Wreck 22.

Fortunately enough, the Yellow Jacket defense held Carolina for no yards and forced a 39 yard Dan Orner field goal to put the Tar Heels on top 3-0 in the early going.

The offense rebounded to move 44 yards in 11 plays before stalling at the UNC 21. But despite the good field position, Dan Burnett’s 38 yard field goal attempt missed wide right, and the Tar Heels would take back over at the 21.

Shortly thereafter, Georgia Tech regained possession at the Carolina 37 as the result of a punt and an added ten yards for kick catching interference. With Damarius Bilbo leading the attack, the Jackets covered the distance in seven plays, scoring on a 10 yard pass to Kerry Watkins to take the lead at the 2:23 mark in the first quarter.

Carolina consumed the remainder of the opening period, covering 52 yards in 6 plays before scoring on a 19 yard touchdown pass from Darian Durrant to Zach Hilton on the first play of the second quarter.

Trailing 10-7, Tech quickly pushed back into Carolina territory. But following a 14 yard sack, Bilbo went to the air and was intercepted by Malcolm Stewart at the UNC 21. Stewart returned the ball 31 yards to setup the Tar Heel offense with excellent field position at the Georgia Tech 48 yard line.

UNC picked up two first downs before stalling inside the Tech 15, and eventually settled for a 31 yard field goal by Orner to extend their lead to 13-7.

Ajenavi Eziemefe kick-started Tech’s next drive with consecutive runs of 19 and 4 yards, and an added personal foul on the Tar Heels set the Jackets up with a first down at the UNC 35 yard line. On 3rd-and-2, Suggs went to the air and found Will Glover for a 27 yard touchdown pass to give the Jackets a narrow 14-13 lead with 4:42 to go before halftime.

The Tar Heels pushed to midfield on the ensuing drive, but eventually punted back to Tech with less than a minute left in the half. The Jackets would then run out the clock to carry a one-point lead at intermission.

UNC looked to have struck gold on the opening drive of the second half when Durrant found Bobby Blizzard for a deep pass for a near touchdown. But as Blizzard was heading across the goal line, Reuben Houston stripped the ball and Jonathan Cox recovered in the end zone for a touchback

Suggs and Eziemefe then combined to put together an incredible 18 play, 80 yard drive that consumed just over eight minutes of the third quarter. The drive was capped off by a one-yard touchdown by Eziemefe that increased the Ramblin’ Wreck lead to 21-13 with 4:52 left in the period.

Each squad would threaten once more in the second half, but come away empty. The Jackets missed their chance at the 8:52 mark when Burnett’s 43 yard field goal attempt missed wide to the right. The Tar Heels then squandered their opportunity when they lost the ball on downs on the drive that followed with just 4:39 to play.

The remaining five minutes ticked away with little action, and the Jackets would go on to win by eight for their fourth victory of the season and their fifth in a row over the North Carolina. The Heels would go on to win just two of their remaining eight games to finish the season at 3-9, overall.


First downs:
GT – 24
UNC – 12

Rushing yards:
GT – 185
UNC – 68

Passing (Comp-Att-Yds):
GT – 19-33-211
UNC – 14-25-231

Interceptions thrown:
GT – 2
UNC – 0

Fumbles (Total-Lost):
GT – 0-0
UNC – 1-1

Penalties (Total-Yards):
GT – 6-45
UNC – 8-64

Game Summary: http://www.ramblinwreck.com/sports/m-footbl/stats/092802aaa.html

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