North Carolina: 20
Georgia Tech: 28
After improving to 2-0 with a road win over Duke, Georgia Tech looked to take a huge step forward in the coastal division standings when it faced the North Carolina Tar Heels on a rainy September Saturday at Bobby Dodd Stadium. Carolina began the season with a 27-10 loss at #6 South Carolina before rebounding with a 40-20 win over Middle Tennessee State to get to 1-1 on the year. The Jackets had dominated the series of late, winning four straight and thirteen of the last fifteen meetings, including seven consecutive games at Grant Field. North Carolina’s last victory over Tech came in a 28-7 decision in Chapel Hill in Paul Johnson’s first season in 2008.
The first score came on the game’s opening drive when North Carolina’s Romar Morris capped off a 6 play, 58 yard drive with a 4 yard touchdown run. Sean Tapely gave the Heels a short field with a 42 yard return, and Bryn Renner setup the eventual score with a 20 yard strike to Quinshad Davis for a first down at the Yellow Jacket 8 yard line. After the score, Larry Fedora tried to catch Tech off guard with a surprise attempt at a two-point conversion. But the Tech defense was ready for the play and Tommy Hibbard’s pass fell incomplete to leave the lead at 6-0.
Vad Lee steadily led the Tech offense into Carolina territory on the drive that followed, but lost control of a snap on 2nd-and-10 from the UNC 42, and Darius Lipford recovered for the Tar Heels at the 46.
Renner returned to lead his offense on a quick drive to extend the lead late in the period. The Heels slowly pushed into Tech territory with runs and passes of five to seven yards before quickly finding the end zone from the Yellow Jacket 35. Renner found Davis for 16 yards and a first down before connected with Eric Ebron on a 19 yard touchdown pass for a 13-0 lead.
The Yellow Jacket offense calmed down on the series that followed and marched 62 yards before facing 4th-and-goal at the UNC 1 early in the second quarter. Rather than take the field goal, Johnson elected to go for the touchdown and sent David Sims up the middle. As Sims dove over the goal line, the ball was lodged free by the Carolina defense, not before the side judge ruled that Sims had crossed the plane for a touchdown. After further review, the play was upheld and Tech pushed within 6 at 13-7.
On the drive that followed, Renner found Ebron for 36 yards on second down to put the Ramblin’ Wreck defense right back in a bind. A.J. Blue added 8 yards on consecutive runs to follow before Renner found Sean Tapley for a 24 yard touchdown to extend the Tar Heel lead to 20-7 with 9:18 to go in the half.
Tech punted after a quick three-and-out on the ensuing drive and appeared bound for a bad loss before its defense forced a Carolina punt near midfield. With roughly five minutes to play before intermission, Lee led a steady 12 play, 80 yard drive to consume all but 30 seconds from the clock and get the Jackets back in the game at 20-14 with a 21 yard touchdown pass to Darren Waller.
After halftime, the Yellow Jacket defense played exceptionally. While the offense earned just one first down on its first possession of the third quarter, the defense quickly forced a three-and-out to give Lee and company another shot at the lead. Charles Perkins broke free shortly thereafter on a 26 yard run to the UNC 16 before Sims made it first-and-goal with an 11 yard scamper to the 2. Lee then called his own number three consecutive times, finally notching the go-ahead touchdown from one yard out with 5:52 to play in the period.
Ted Roof’s defense forced yet another three-and-out on the possession that followed, but a Carolina punt pinned the offense deep in its own territory at the Yellow Jacket 8 yard line. Two runs earned a first down at the 20 before Robert Godhigh exploded on a 48 yard run on 2nd-and-8 to give Tech a first down at the Tar Heel 30 yard line. The Jackets then narrowly averted disaster at the 12 when Lee apparently lost a fumble after an 8 yard gain, but an official review reversed the call on the field. Lee followed with a 6 yard strike to Tony Zenon before Sims capped off the 92 yard march with a 6 yard touchdown run to extend the lead to 28-20.
The Tar Heel offense looked as if it might answer on the following possession, but Jemea Thomas tipped a Renner pass intended for Davis, and Louis Young snagged an interception at the Tech 23 to put an end to the drive.
Tech punted back to UNC nearly three minutes later, but the Tar Heels again failed to earn a first down before punting back at the 6:27 mark. Lee and the offense would go on to consume the remainder of the clock, eventually closing out the game in victory formation to seal the victory and improve to 3-0 on the season.
The Tar Heels went on to lose their next three games before rallying to 6-6 late in the season to earn bowl eligibility and a trip to the Belk Bowl in Charlotte, NC to face the Cincinnati Bearcats on December 28. UNC would dominate the contest 39-17 to finish the season at 7-6, overall.
UNC – 17
GT – 27
UNC – 101
GT – 324
UNC – 14-29-218
GT – 7-12-104
UNC – 1
GT – 0
UNC – 0-0
GT – 4-1
UNC – 8-57
GT – 5-40
Game Summary: http://www.ramblinwreck.com/sports/m-footbl/recaps/092113aab.html
– Game highlights