Georgia Tech Upends No. 13/11 UNC – Football — Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets


THE FLATS – Georgia Tech football played lockdown defense and scored 21 unanswered points over the final 30:48 of the game to upset No. 13/11 North Carolina on the road, 21-17, at Kenan Stadium on Saturday night.

The Yellow Jackets (5-6, 4-4 ACC) extinguished the red-hot Tar Heels (9-2, 6-1 ACC) and Heisman Trophy candidate quarterback Drake Maye, holding them to 17 points, 365 yards of total offense, 202 passing yards, zero passing touchdowns and a 53% completion percentage, all season-lows for UNC. Georgia Tech’s win snapped North Carolina’s six-game winning streak and likely ended the Heels’ College Football Playoff hopes.

Pressure in the backfield ignited the defensive effort for Tech, as it recorded a season-high six sacks and a season-high-tying 12 tackles for loss on the night. Defensive linemen Keion White and D’Quan Douse led the attack with four and two tackles for loss apiece, while Key sacked Maye three times.

White’s career day also included seven tackles, while linebackers Ayinde Eley and Charlie Thomas also topped the Yellow Jackets with nine and seven stops, respectively.

Offensively, Georgia Tech got things going at the end of the first half when it scored the first of its 21-straight points on a 2-yard rush by Dontae Smith. Smith’s team-best fifth touchdown run of the season capped a nine-play, 84-yard drive and sent the Yellow Jackets into halftime trailing just 17-7.

Tech cut the deficit to 17-14 midway through the third period when quarterback Taisun Phommachanh plunged into the end zone from 4 yards out to finish off a nine-play, 68-yard scoring drive.

Later in the third quarter, it looked as though UNC would extend its lead when it drove deep into Tech territory. However, defensive back LaMiles Brooks thwarted the Tar Heels’ scoring opportunity when he intercepted Maye at the GT 19 yard line. Not only did Brooks’ team-leading third interception of the season keep North Carolina from extending its lead, but it kick-started a nine-play, 81-yard scoring drive for the Yellow Jackets. The would-be game-winning drive included a 40-yard run by wide receiver Malachi Carter on only the second carry of his five-year collegiate career and a 6-yard touchdown run by Hassan Hall that gave the Jackets a 21-17 lead with 11:08 to go.

From there, Georgia Tech’s defense made the lead stand up over UNC’s next two possessions and the offense picked up three first downs to milk the final 4:10 off the clock and nail down the Jackets’ second-straight win over a nationally ranked opponent (Tech beat No. 24 Pitt, 26-21, in Brent Key’s first game as interim head coach on Oct. 1).

Georgia Tech outgained North Carolina by a 202-108 margin in the second half and limited the Tar Heels to 1 yard or less on four of their final six possessions of the ballgame.

Tech quarterbacks Zach Gibson and Phommachanh split snaps throughout the ballgame and outshined the highly acclaimed Maye, combining to throw for 187 yards (174 for Gibson on an ultra-efficient 13-of-16 passing) and run for 53 more (44 for Phommachanh). Hall led all players with 154 all-purpose yards (47 rushing, 57 receiving and 50 on kickoff returns). Filling in for injured starter Nate McCollum, wide receiver Malik Rutherford led all players with six receptions and paced the Yellow Jackets with 68 receiving yards.

The rally from the early 17-0 deficit was the largest comeback for a road win in Georgia Tech history and the second-biggest deficit that it has ever overcome in a victory.

Georgia Tech concludes the regular season next Saturday when it visits archrival and No. 1-ranked Georgia. Kickoff for the is scheduled for noon ET and will be broadcast live on ESPN.


Coach Key Postgame Press Conference (Video)

Coach Key Postgame Press Conference (Audio)

Student-Athletes Postgame Press Conference

Game Highlights (ACC Digital Network)

Condensed Game (ACC Digital Network)

Entire Game (ACC Digital Network)

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