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Tech Bags Another Ranked Foe, Tops No. 17 UNC, 46-42

THE FLATS – Behind 246 fourth-quarter rushing yards and Haynes King’s fourth touchdown pass of the game with 4:28 to go, Georgia Tech erased an 11-point deficit with 22 points in the final 13 minutes of its 46-42 win over 17th-ranked North Carolina on Saturday night at Bobby Dodd Stadium at Hyundai Field.

King’s 5-yard touchdown pass to Brett Seither with 4:28 remaining capped a 79-yard drive – the Yellow Jackets’ third scoring drive of the fourth quarter – and proved to be the game-winner.

In rallying to win its third-straight game in the series with North Carolina (the Tar Heels were nationally ranked in all three meetings), Tech evened its record 4-4 overall, improved to 3-2 in Atlantic Coast Conference play and extended its perfect record in matchups against nationally ranked ACC foes under head coach Brent Key to 4-0. The Tar Heels fell to 6-2 overall, 3-2 in the ACC.

The Yellow Jackets amassed 635 total yards in the game, their most ever against an ACC foe, and averaged 7.3 yards per rush for 348 yards on the ground. The dominant performance on the ground was highlighted by the 246-yard fourth quarter, which fueled three scoring drives to overtake the Tar Heels.

Trailing 35-24, Tech started its comeback when Haynes capped an 88-yard march with a 4-yard touchdown run at the 12:02 mark. King connected with Malik Rutherford on an inside screen for the two-point conversion, bringing the Jackets within 35-31.

North Carolina answered with a long kickoff return to set up a quick two-play drive for a touchdown, scoring on a 35-yard pass from Drake Maye to Doc Chapman and extending its lead to 42-32. But it took just 33 seconds for Tech to score next, with Smith bolting 70 yards up the middle for a touchdown to get the Jackets back within 42-39 with 10:40 remaining in the game.

It appeared that UNC might extend the lead once again when Maye drove the Heels down the field with a pair of long passing gains, but the drive stalled at the Tech 21, and Noah Burnett’s 39-yard field goal missed to the left. Tech capitalized by moving 79 yards on six plays, capped by the go-ahead touchdown pass from King to Seither with 4:28 to go.

Maye started leading the Tar Heels down the field once again, but the Jackets came up with their biggest defensive play of the night to snuff out UNC’s scoring threat. Maye completed a 36-yard strike to Tez Walker, but Tech’s Ahmari Harvey drilled Walker to knock the ball loose and K.J. Wallace recovered the fumble for the Jackets at their 24-yard line.

From there, Tech picked up a pair of first downs to drain the last 2:54 off the clock, setting off a field-storming celebration by an elated Bobby Dodd Stadium crowd.

Senior running back Dontae Smith, who came into the game with 61 rushing yards on the season, including just 11 in the last five games, ran for a career-high 178 yards on 22 carries for the Yellow Jackets (the most by any Georgia Tech player since 2018 and the most by a Tech running back since 2017). King added 90 yards on eight carries and sophomore running back Jamal Haynes picked up 80 yards on 14 attempts. The Jackets’ 348 rushing yards as a team were their most in a game since 2020.

The Jackets were also potent through the air, with King completing 23-of 30 passes for 287 yards and four touchdowns. His .767 completion percentage was the second-highest in Georgia Tech history for a passer with at least 30 attempts in a game.

True freshman Eric Singleton Jr. led Tech’s receiving corps with eight caches for 117 yards, both career highs. Seither caught two touchdown passes – a 35-yarder in the second quarter and the 5-yard game winner in the fourth – while sophomore Malik Rutherford also had a pair of touchdown receptions as part of a six-catch, 83-yard performance.

Georgia Tech returns to action next Saturday, Nov. 4, when it travels to Virginia for a 2 p.m. game. The contest will be televised across the nation on The CW.

Haynes King threw for 287 yards and four touchdowns and totaled 377 yards of offense in Georgia Tech’s 46-42 win over No. 17 North Carolina (Danny Karnik photo).

 

Postgame Notes

Team Notes

  • Georgia Tech evened its overall record at 4-4 and moved to 3-2 in Atlantic Coast Conference play.
  • No. 17 North Carolina fell to 6-2 overall and 3-2 in ACC play.
  • Georgia Tech continued a season-long trend of alternating losses and wins.
  • Georgia Tech moved to 4-0 under head coach Brent Key against nationally ranked ACC opponents:
    • W, 26-21 at No. 24 Pitt – Oct. 1, 2022
    • W, 21-17 at No. 13/11 North Carolina – Nov. 19, 2022
    • W, 23-20 at No. 17 Miami (Fla.) – Oct. 7, 2023
    • W, 46-42 vs. No. 17 North Carolina – Oct. 28, 2023
  • Georgia Tech defeated a nationally ranked team at home for the first time since a 45-22 win over No. 21/20 North Carolina on Sept. 25, 2021 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
  • Georgia Tech defeated a nationally ranked team at Bobby Dodd Stadium at Hyundai Field for the first time since a 28-22 win over No. 17 Virginia Tech on Nov. 11, 2017.
  • Georgia Tech snapped a skid of four-straight ACC home defeats with its first conference win at home since a 30-27 OT win over Duke on Oct. 8, 2022.
  • The win was Georgia Tech’s third-straight over North Carolina (all against nationally ranked UNC teams) and its fifth win in its last six matchups with the Tar Heels.
  • Georgia Tech moved to 33-22-2 overall and 21-9 at home all-time versus North Carolina.
  • Georgia Tech moved to 55-18-1 overall and 5-0 against North Carolina in homecoming games.
  • Georgia Tech’s 46 points were the fifth-most in program history against ranked opponents and its most since it scored 49 against No. 7 Mississippi State on Dec. 31, 2014.
  • Georgia Tech’s 635 yards of offense were a season high, most-ever against an ACC opponent and most overall since it totaled 655 yards against Tennessee on Sept. 4, 2017. The 635 yards of offense rank fifth all-time in program history.
  • Georgia Tech’s 348 rushing yards were its most since it had 377 yards on the ground against Duke on Nov. 28, 2020.
  • The teams’ 1,212 combined yards of total offense were the most ever combined yards of offense in a Georgia Tech game (prev.: 1,206 at Virginia – Oct. 23, 2021).
  • Georgia Tech’s block of a UNC punt in the third quarter was its third blocked kick of the season. The Yellow Jackets entered the game tied atop the ACC and tied for seventh nationally with two blocked kicks.
  • Georgia Tech’s punt block was its 30th since 2013. The Yellow Jackets entered the game ranked third nationally with 29 blocked kicks since 2013.

Individual Notes

  • After missing last Saturday’s game vs. Boston College (illness), Fr. WR Eric Singleton set career highs with 8 receptions and 117 receiving yards (prev.: 5 rec. and 97 rec. yds at No. 17/19 Ole Miss on Sept. 16).
  • r-Sr. RB Dontae Smith set a career-high with 178 rushing yards (prev.: 102 vs. Western Carolina – Sept. 10, 2022).
  • Smith’s 178 rushing yards were the most by a Yellow Jacket since QB Tobias Oliver’s 215 rushing yards at Virginia Tech and the most by a Tech running back since KirVonte Benson’s 196 at Pitt on Sept. 23, 2017.
  • r-So. QB Haynes King’s .767 (23-of-30) completion percentage is good for second-best in school history (min. 30 attempts) and the most since George Godsey completed 29-of-37 (.784) against Virginia on Nov. 9, 2000.
  • King’s four touchdown passes give him 21 for the season, which are the third-most in Georgia Tech single-season history, behind only Joe Hamilton’s in 1999 and George Godsey’s 23 in 2000.
  • King has thrown four touchdown passes in a game three times this season, tying Hamilton for the most games with four TD passes in a season in Georgia Tech history (Hamilton had three in 1999).
  • With 287 passing yards, King moved into 13th all-time in Georgia Tech history with 2,122 passing yards for the season (most since Taylor Bennett in 2007 – 2,136).
  • r-Jr. Brett Seither had a career-high two touchdown receptions (35 yards in the second quarter and 5 yards in the fourth quarter).
  • Four of Seither’s five receptions as a Yellow Jacket have been touchdowns.
  • Seither’s 35-yard touchdown reception in the second quarter was the longest reception of his career, including his previous four seasons at Georgia. The longest previous catch of his career was a 30-yarder for Georgia vs. Charleston Southern in 2021. His previous long as a Yellow Jacket was a 16-yarder at No. 17/19 Ole Miss on Sept. 16.
  • R-Jr. WR Abdul Janneh’s blocked punt in the third quarter was his first as a Yellow Jacket.
Dontae Smith ran for 178 yards – the most by a Georgia Tech running back in six seasons – in the Yellow Jackets’ win over No. 17 UNC (Danny Karnik photo).

 

Multimedia

Head Coach Brent Key Postgame Press Conference (Audio)

Coach Key Postgame Press Conference (Video)

Student-Athletes Postgame Press Conference (Video)

Paul Johnson Hall of Fame Salute Press Conference (Video)

Game Highlights (ACC Digital Network)

Condensed Game (ACC Digital Network)

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