North Carolina trails Georgia Tech 21-14 at halftime in Atlanta. Here are three things to know about the action during the first half.
1. Georgia Tech's offense
We knew coming into this game that Paul Johnson's triple-option was going to be the biggest challenge that Gene Chizik's new 4-3 defense has seen all season. And it didn't disappoint.
The Yellow Jackets looked to be in complete control of the game during their first three drives, scoring touchdowns on each one. During those first three drives, Georgia Tech averaged 12 plays and 9:06 of time off the clock.
Unsurprisingly, most of that damage came from the rushing attack, and the Yellow Jackets finished the half with 204 rushing yards — 5.4 per carry — after rushing for just 173 yards last week against Duke.
On Tech's final drive of the half though, UNC finally stopped Justin Thomas and the rest of the offense, forcing the first three-and-out of the game.
North Carolina started this game with an offsides penalty on the initial kickoff, and on their first offensive drive a holding penalty from center Lucas Crowley helped cut short an 8-play drive that resulted in a punt.
Entering this game Georgia Tech had the fewest penalties in the FBS (just seven for 59 yards) through the first four games of the season. With Tech getting so few flags thrown, UNC will have to minimize its mistakes the rest of the way to try and pull off the comeback.
And while, the Yellow Jackets have been good with penalties, they were hit with a big one during the second quarter when defensive tackle Adam Gotsis was ejected after a targetting penalty on Marquise Williams.
Still, UNC had four penatlies for 31 yards while Georgia Tech had two for 20 yards at the half.
3. Momentum going into the second half
After looking almost incompetent on the first two drives to start the game (11 plays for just 57 yards) the offense seemed to turns things around near the end of the first half.
Much of that momentum was started by Elijah Hood, who broke off a few big runs to get the chains moving. Hood has 40 yards on the ground at the half, but is averaging 6.7 per carry. His two-yard touchdown got the Tar Heels on the board for the first time, and Marquise Williams capitalized on Georgia Tech's first three-and-out to lead UNC down the field again for another score — a seven-yard Williams rush.
The Tar Heels have just 181 total yards (84 passing, 97 rushing) at the half, but the final two drives were much more promising than the first.
To get the day's news and headlines in your inbox each morning, sign up for our email newsletters.