Sept. 30, 2017
ATLANTA (AP) — Georgia Tech played keep-away against North Carolina, dominating the clock with its ball-control offense, and KirVonte Benson scored on a 63-yard run as the Yellow Jackets beat the Tar Heels 33-7 on Saturday.
Georgia Tech (3-1, 2-0 Atlantic Coast Conference) had scoring drives of 18 and 17 plays in the first half to wear down short-handed North Carolina (1-4, 0-3).
TaQuon Marshall ran for 137 yards, including a 5-yard touchdown run, and threw a 12-yard scoring pass to Ricky Jeune. Benson added 130 yards rushing.
Georgia Tech ran 65 plays, compared to 58 for North Carolina, and held the all for more than 38 minutes.
The Tar Heels have lost 13 players, including top wide receiver Austin Proehl, to season-ending injuries.
North Carolina avoided being shut out when Jordon Brown scored on an 8-yard run with 5:05 remaining. The touchdown was set up by Chazz Surratt’s 34-yard pass to Jordan Cunningham.
It was a dramatic departure from recent shootouts in the series. North Carolina averaged 44.7 points in winning the last three games against Georgia Tech.
The Yellow Jackets held the ball for 18 plays and 8 minutes, 54 seconds on a 90-yard touchdown drive capped by Marshall’s 5-yard run in the first quarter.
It was Georgia Tech’s longest touchdown drive since 2012. The Yellow Jackets then added a 17-play, 74-yard drive in the second quarter that ended with a 21-yard field goal by Shawn Davis.
It marked the first time in Paul Johnson’s 10 seasons as Georgia Tech’s coach the Yellow Jackets had two scoring drives of at least 17 plays in a game.
Georgia Tech, which lost four fumbles in last week’s 35-17 win over Pittsburgh, had two more lost fumbles by Marshall and Benson. One play after Marshall’s fumble, A.J. Gray had the first of his two interceptions to give possession back to the Yellow Jackets. Benson then broke free for his 63-yard touchdown run.
Benson fumbled at the goal line late in the third quarter.
North Carolina’s Freeman Jones was wide left on a 40-yard field goal in the second quarter and again was left on a 52-yard attempt to end the half. Entering the game, Jones had made three of four field goal attempts, but none longer than 39 yards. He has missed each of his three attempts this season from 40 yards or longer.
Georgia Tech backup quarterback Matthew Jordan had a 5-yard scoring run with less than 2 minutes remaining.
North Carolina: The Tar Heels offense, so high-powered in wins over Georgia Tech the last three years, showed the effects of the latest string of season-ending injuries. In addition to Proehl, defensive tackle Tyler Powell, tight end Carl Tucker and receiver Rontavius Groves were declared out for the season this week.
Georgia Tech: The productive spread-option attack and its emphasis on the run grabs the headlines but the Yellow Jackets are also winning with defense this season. Even though the Tar Heels have lost some key playmakers, it was a strong showing by the defense, which was led by Gray’s two interceptions. Defense could be the difference in Georgia Tech’s hopes in the ACC Coastal Division.
North Carolina: The Tar Heels on Saturday will make their first visit to No. 22 Notre Dame since taking a 29-24 win in 2008.
Georgia Tech: The Yellow Jackets will be off on Saturday before playing at No. 14 Miami on Oct. 14.
- Georgia Tech moved to 3-1 overall and 2-0 in Atlantic Coast Conference play. North Carolina fell to 1-4 overall and 0-3 in ACC play.
- Georgia Tech moved to 2-0 in ACC play for the fourth time in the past seven seasons (2011, 2013, 2014 and 2017) but only the fifth time in the last 18 years.
- Dating back to last season, Georgia Tech has won seven of its last eight games and nine of its last 11 contests.
- Georgia Tech extended its home winning streak to six games.
- Georgia Tech snapped a three-game losing streak against North Carolina.
- Georgia Tech limited North Carolina to seven points after the Tar Heels averaged 44.7 points per game during their three-game winning streak versus the Yellow Jackets from 2014-16.
- Georgia Tech’s defense forced seven three-and-outs in 12 defensive series. In 49 defensive series this season, Georgia Tech has forced 26 three-and-outs (53.1 percent). Georgia Tech entered the game ranked second nationally in defensive three-and-out percentage (behind only Michigan — 56.6 percent).
- Georgia Tech scored at least 28 points for the eighth-straight game, marking only the fourth time since 1904 that it has scored 28 or more points in eight-straight games. Of the four times Georgia Tech has accomplished the feat in the past 104 seasons, two have come in Johnson’s 10 seasons as head coach (10 games — Oct. 14, 2014-Sept. 12, 2015; eight games — Nov. 12, 2016-present).
- Georgia Tech’s 18-play touchdown drive in the first quarter is tied for the ninth-longest scoring drive in school history in terms of plays and was the longest drive by the Yellow Jackets in terms of plays since an 18-yard touchdown drive in a 42-24 win over Duke on Nov. 17, 2012.
- Georgia Tech also had a 17-play drive that resulted in a field goal in the second quarter, marking the first time in Paul Johnson’s 10 seasons as head coach that the Yellow Jackets had two drives of 17 plays or more in the same game.
- Georgia Tech BB KirVonte Benson (130) and QB TaQuon Marshall (137) both rushed for at least 100 yards for the third time in four games this season. Georgia Tech has had multiple 100-yard rushers four times in the last eight games overall (BB Marcus Marshall and QB Matthew Jordan at Virginia Tech on Nov. 12, 2016; Benson and Marshall vs. Tennessee on Sept. 4, Pittsburgh on Sept. 23 and North Carolina on Saturday).
- Sophomore BB KirVonte Benson rushed for 130 yards and one touchdown on 18 carries (7.2 avg.). He has rushed for at least 100 yards three times in four career starts.
- Benson’s 63-yard touchdown run in the third quarter was the longest run of his career (prev.: 47 vs. Pittsburgh last Saturday).
- Junior QB TaQuon Marshall rushed for 137 yards and one touchdown on 27 carries (5.1 avg.). He has rushed for at least 100 yards three times in four career starts.
- Marshall’s 65-yard run in the third quarter was the longest of his career (prev.: 32 vs. Pittsburgh last Saturday).
- Marshall, who entered the game ranked No. 1 nationally in scoring (16.0 ppg) and No. 4 nationally in points responsible for (22.0 ppg), scored one touchdown and was responsible for two (one rushing, one passing).
- Junior safety A.J. Gray had a career-high two interceptions. Gray entered the game with one interception in his three-year career. He is the second Georgia Tech student-athlete in the last eight games to intercept multiple passes in a game (Lawrence Austin had two interceptions in a 30-20 win at No. 18 Virginia Tech on Nov. 11, 2016).
Georgia Tech vs. North Carolina Highlights (ACC Digital Network)
KirVonte Benson Takes It 63 Yards To The House
Georgia Tech IMG Sports Network Radio Highlights
Head Coach Paul Johnson Postgame Press Conference (Video)
Head Coach Paul Johnson Postgame Press Conference (Audio)
— Georgia Tech Sports (@GTAthletics) September 30, 2017