By DJ VINING
ATLANTA—Despite Georgia Tech treating its fans to an impressive running game against the University of North Carolina on Saturday, the game would end in a disappointing loss for the Jackets with a final score of 38-31.
The Ramblin’ Wreck came out strong with their offense at the start of the game. They ran the ball 64 yards in the opening drive to score a touchdown taking 5:06 off the clock, and did not stop there.
Only attempting three passes in the entire first half, the Jackets would score on two more consecutive touchdowns while keeping the Tar Heels scoreless until 1:29 left in the first half. Two of Georgia Tech’s three TDs came from quarterback Justin Thomas.
A turning point came toward the beginning of the second quarter when Yellow Jackets defensive tackle, Adam Gotsis, was ejected for targeting the head of Tar Heels quarterback Marquise Williams.
“They don’t give you an explanation,” Georgia Tech head coach, Paul Johnson, said. “They just say it’s targeting.”
It took time for the Tar Heels to settle in at Bobby Dodd, but once they did, they never let up. With less than two minutes remaining, North Carolina managed to score two touchdowns, which cut the Georgia Tech’s lead to 21-14.
North Carolina came out scoring with a field goal in their opening drive in the second half. A possibly overzealous onside kick ensued immediately after, which Georgia Tech recovered in Tar Heel territory.
The second half consisted of both teams trading punches. North Carolina managed to take the lead with 11:25 left in the game after causing a critical fumble by Thomas.
After taking the lead to 31-28, the Tar Heels would cruise to the end as the Jackets struggled to get enough points on the board. Georgia Tech suffered its first loss to North Carolina at Bobby Dodd since 1997.
“Obviously we made some adjustments,” Jacket’s wide receiver, Ricky Jeune, said. “I think we were really rolling at first, and it’s hard to say what happened.”
Georgia Tech had multiple chances to capitalize on key drives, but none more important than a missed 4th-and-goal at the one-yard line.
“It was a quarterback follow, and the offensive line blocked down and backed in and didn’t block out,” Johnson said. “Story of our season.”
“You have to feel that pain and you have to let it move you forward,” Georgia Tech’s left tackle, Ricky Braun, said.
The future of the Yellow Jacket’s season looks to be in trouble after they were expected to be ACC Championship contenders at the beginning of the season.
“We can’t let these past three losses trickle into six or seven losses,” said defensive back Jamal Golden. “We’ve got to just take it to next week and get ready for Clemson and try and get one in the “W” column.”