ATLANTA — North Carolina knew entering Saturday’s game against Georgia Tech that it couldn’t completely stop the Yellow Jackets.
The home team had the nation’s No. 1 offense and was coming off a 768-yard performance against Kansas the previous week. So when the Tar Heels forced Georgia Tech to kick field goals in its first two possessions, they were just executing the game plan.
“I’ve said all week long, this is not about yards,” said UNC interim head coach Everett Withers, whose team gave up 496 yards of total offense. “This game is about making them kick three. We just didn’t make them kick three enough.”
Georgia Tech’s triple-option offense would prove too much for the Tar Heels for a third straight year as UNC fell 35-28 despite a strong fourth-quarter rally by the visitors.
UNC (3-1, 1-1 ACC) piggybacked off freshman Giovani Bernard for 52 yards in the game’s first drive, culminating in a touchdown just 3:34 into a match heavily favored to be a shootout. Bernard, who rushed for a career-high 155 yards, was the only UNC running back to get more than one touch.