“That’s why their offense is so good,” safety Matt Merletti said. “It’s really hard to keep track of everything. If you try to take in the whole picture, that’s when you start getting lost on the football. Whenever you’re on defense against this offense, it’s just about reading your keys, and if everyone does their job right, they won’t go anywhere.”
But as Orwin Smith’s first-quarter, 73-yard run for Georgia Tech proved, if one person does not do his job right or misses a tackle, six points could be tacked on the board.
Since it consists almost entirely of running plays, the offense milks the clock, giving opponents less chances to score.
Historically, Georgia Tech struggles when it is forced to throw the ball and score quickly — a weakness of the triple option.
“Now if you can make it a more-than-one-score ball game, it really enhances your ability to kind of make them play left-handed,” UNC head coach Butch Davis said. “It takes the ball out of the fullback some of the time, it makes them have to throw the ball a little bit more, and forces them to do things that they don’t like to do.”
North Carolina could not get the Georgia Tech offense off the field — from Yates’ one-yard touchdown run in the second quarter until just less than six minutes left in the fourth, the Georgia Tech offense ran a staggering 57 plays to UNC’s 12.
Georgia Tech averaged 4.8 yards per play over that span, the Tar Heels appearing mystified by the offense. Yellow Jackets were running in every direction, unencumbered by UNC defenders.
Anthony Allen and Joshua Nesbitt were the two main rushers for the Yellow Jackets. The duo rushed 46 times and amassed 219 yards between them.
For their part, the Tar Heels turned the football over twice. Both times the mishaps led to Georgia Tech points.
Davis said he knew his team would have fewer possessions because of Georgia Tech’s scheme, which made the turnovers especially costly.
Like the season opener two weeks ago, despite a good passing day for Yates, UNC was turned away with thoughts of what could have been.
“We just got to get better,” Yates said. “It’s frustrating, but we know it’s fixable.”
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