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Quick Hitters - North Carolina at Georgia Tech

Isaac Schade presents Quick Hitters from North Carolina’s 45-22 road loss to Georgia Tech on Saturday evening.

Quick Hitters from North Carolina’s 45-22 road loss to Georgia Tech on Saturday evening.

Highlights:

Condensed Game:

  • Clemson lost at NC State just before the UNC and Georgia Tech kicked off. Tonight was an opportunity for the Tar Heels to prove they belong at the top of the ACC heap this season. Unfortunately, they fumbled the opportunity. Literally.
  • Sam Howell had three fumbles on the game, all of which were recovered by Georgia Tech. All three ultimately resulted in scores for the Yellow Jackets – one field goal and two touchdowns. Truthfully all three should have been touchdowns, but Tech’s Jackson tripped over his own feet on the 10 yard line on the fumble return with a parade of teammates all around him.
  • This game pivoted on a player not even expected to play: Georgia Tech quarterback Jeff Sims. Sims had been out since suffering an injury in his first game of the season. Jordan Yates (TJ’s nephew) had been filling in in the interim. Sims entered the game with 3:23 before halftime and Carolina up 7-6. From that moment on, the Yellow jackets outscored the Heels 39-15.
  • When all was said and done, Sims racked up 130 yards and three touchdowns on just 10 carries to go along with completing 10 of 13 passes for 112 yards and a touchdown.
  • Georgia Tech had five possessions before Sims entered consisting of three three-and-outs and two field goals. The Yellow Jackets had seven possessions with Sims at the helm: five touchdowns, one field goal, and a punt.
  • Needless to say (but I will): The Tar Heels didn’t spend enough time in practice this week preparing for the potentiality of Jeff Sims playing (Jeremiah Gemmel said as much in his postgame interview).
  • Howell started off the game hot and appeared destined for a third straight game of 300-plus passing yards and 100-plus rushing yards. He had already compiled 39 rushing yards less than 5:00 into the game. Tech ultimately put the clamps on, and while Howell did ultimately reach 300 passing yards (306 to be exact), the Tar Heel offense didn’t do nearly enough tonight.
  • In fact, the entirety of the rushing game was essentially non-existant this evening. The team totaled 63 net rushing yards. To be fair, that number was literally cut in half by sacks and tackles-for-loss (TFLs): Carolina also had 63 negative rushing yards.
  • Speaking of which, there were some outstandingly odd numbers from the evening: Sam Howell was sacked eight (8!) times. This is an indictment of both the line and Howell’s inability to get rid of the ball.
  •  We must acknowledge the first touchdown of the evening. Sam Howell did his very best Javonte Williams impression, breaking tackles as he rumbled for a 23-yard touchdown. Words don’t do it justice, so watch here: 
  • Another of those crazy numbers: Georgia Tech had 10 TFLS. In the first half ALONE. They picked up three more in the second half to finish with 13.
  • Josh Downs had a relatively quiet showing – 53 receiving yards and a touchdown on eight catches (14 targets). On the positive side, Howell is starting to spread the targets around a bit more. In addition to Downs, five other players saw multiple targets. The most efficient was Kamari Morales who caught all seven of his targets for 66 yards and a touchdown.
  • Jonathan Kim came into the game a perfect 22-for-22 on touchbacks this season. He started the game with three more to bring that total up to 25. Unfortunately, Kim’s perfect streak came to an inglorious end at an inopportune time and in an inopportune way. Immediately after scoring a touchdown and two-point conversion to get within 13 with 11:18 remaining in regulation, Kim’s kick not only wasn’t a touchback but also went out of bounds, giving the Yellow Jackets great field position.
  • A statistical anomaly: Carolina was a respectable 6-for-14 on third down conversions, while Tech was a below average 3-for-11, and yet won the game by 23 points.
  • Perhaps the most back-breaking drive of the game came at the end of the third quarter / beginning of the fourth: Georgia Tech was up 27-14 and had the ball. Carolina held Tech to six yards on the first two plays of the drive, bringing up third and four at their own 31. The Yellow Jackets picked up the first. As the clock turned to the fourth quarter, UNC held strong on a third and six, bringing up fourth and three. With the ball at the Carolina 35, Tech went for it and got the first down. The Yellow Jackets scored on the next play and added a two point conversion to make the score 35-14.
  • The Tar Heels will re-group and come home for three straight weeks starting with Duke next Saturday. 

Box Score

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Read More

Mack Brown postgame press conference

Players postgame press conference

Jeremiah Gemmel 

Sam Howell

Remember to check in for Quick Hitters after every North Carolina football game. Next up is a home game against Duke on Saturday, October 2. Kickoff is at noon ET on ESPN2.

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