By Don Stone, Georgia Tech Express
Georgia Tech was originally scheduled to begin their five game Mayhem at Mercedes-Benz Stadium series against Notre Dame last year. But, because of Covid-19’s rearranging of the college football season, it was moved to Bobby Dodd Stadium to allow the Yellow Jackets more flexibility within the new 10-game conference slate.
The Yellow Jackets have played in MBS one time before in the 2017 Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game where they lost in overtime to Tennessee after leading 21-14 going into the final quarter. Then head coach Paul Johnson went for two points and failed giving the game to the Volunteers 42-41.
This time they played against a team that some said might replace Clemson as the Atlantic Coast Conference Champion… #21 ranked North Carolina.
The Tar Heels came in a two touchdown favorite having racked up 1299 yards of offense its last two weeks.
And it looked like that trend would continue as they jumped out to a quick 7-0 lead on a 23 yard Sam Howell touchdown run.
Then, the Tech defense took over holding the Tar Heels scoreless until 3:50 in the third quarter when Kamari Morales scored from seven yards out. That gave the Jacket offense time to build up a 27-7 lead.
The Morales TD pulled his team to within 27-14. That’s where it remained at the end of the third quarter.
Malachi Carter brought down a spectacular 27 yard catch in the end zone to get the points back. Wanting to make North Carolina need three scores to catch his team, head coach Geoff Collins went for two and converted, extending the lead to 35-14 with 13:52 to go in the final quarter.
But on a third and 18, Howell heaved a 64 yard bomb downfield that Simmons brought down at the 4. On the next play, Josh Downs got them six. Carolina head coach Mack Brown also went for two and converted to pull his team to within two scores, 35-22.
But, unlike previous Yellow Jacket teams, this one didn’t seem to be fazed and tacked on a field goal before Jared Ivey knocked the ball loose from Howell. It was recovered by Charlie Thomas.
GT took over at their 47 with the clock ticking to just over two minutes. Then the dagger in the heart as Sims got loose for the 50 yards between him and the goal line doubling up UNC 45-22.
The defense had sacked Howell eight times for a loss of 59 yards.
“Give credit to Sims,” said coach Brown after the game. “We think they had 81-82 yards first half. Sims came in and did a tremendous job. In that second half, we couldn’t stop him, I think he rushed for 130-something yards. We get 63 yards rushing they get 261. We’ve always said the team that runs the ball the best wins the game.”
“I have a lot of visions for what this program can be, should be, will be,” the coach Collins said. “You got a glimpse of that tonight.”
Georgia Tech returns to Bobby Dodd Stadium for another ACC matchup as Pitt comes to town. Kickoff is Saturday at noon.