The No.13 North Carolina football team (9-2, 6-1 ACC) fell to the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (5-6, 4-4 ACC), 21-17, on Saturday night at Kenan Stadium.
Georgia Tech’s offense sputtered on the first drive of the night after junior defensive lineman Kaimon Rucker tackled running back Dontae Smith for no gain on third down. On the ensuing drive, the Tar Heels made quick work of the Yellow Jackets, as sophomore running back Elijah Green darted untouched on UNC’s first offensive play for an 80-yard score.
Both teams would go scoreless for the remainder of the first quarter. An Omarion Hampton two-yard run set up UNC with a first-and-goal situation on its third possession of the game, but the offense stalled and North Carolina was forced to settle for a 31-yard field goal by Noah Burnette.
Junior defensive cornerback Storm Duck intercepted redshirt Georgia Tech's Taisun Phommachanh to set the Tar Heels up in plus territory midway through the second quarter. Yet, North Carolina’s offense failed to capitalize, turning the ball over on downs inside the 10-yard line.
On UNC’s next drive, a pair of receptions by sophomore tight end Bryson Nesbit set up the Tar Heels on the Georgia Tech one-yard line. One play later, Green burst around the right side of UNC’s offensive line and into the end zone to build a 17-0 lead.
North Carolina’s defense was pitching a shutout until the Yellow Jackets’ second-to-last offensive possession. Georgia Tech’s nine-play scoring drive was capped off by Smith’s rushing touchdown, which cut UNC’s lead to 17-7 heading into the half.
Out of the break, UNC’s offense failed to march into Yellow Jacket territory and were forced to punt. Georgia Tech replicated the same success it generated at the end of the first half — getting its running backs in space with screen plays and swing passes — to march down the field and score a touchdown.
North Carolina’s offensive woes continued, as redshirt first-year quarterback Drake Maye threw his fourth interception of the season late in the third quarter. The Yellow Jackets capitalized on the ensuing drive with running back Hassan Hall's six-yard touchdown that gave the visitors the lead, 21-17.