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No. 23 Georgia Tech Defeats No. 22 North Carolina, 28-21

Nov 1, 2001

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By KEITH PARSONS
AP Sports Writer

ATLANTA – Julius Peppers was surprised Georgia Tech ran at will on North Carolina’s defense.

Joe Burns wasn’t.

Burns ran for a career-high 198 yards and a touchdown and the No. 23 Yellow Jackets held No. 22 North Carolina to 13 yards rushing in a 28-21 victory Thursday night.

“To be honest, I felt going into the game that we could run the ball with success against North Carolina,” Burns said. “We certainly proved we could.”

He broke his previous career high of 179 yards, set against Maryland in 1998. Burns’ scoring run, a 51-yarder midway through the fourth quarter, gave the Yellow Jackets a 28-14 lead. He broke a tackle at the 20 and outran the defense for Georgia Tech’s longest scoring play of the season.

Burns gained 40 yards on the final drive, running for three first downs and forcing the Tar Heels to use their final two time-outs. The Yellow Jackets converted 10 of 17 third-down attempts in the game, including five straight in the second half.

“They kind of picked us apart,” said Peppers, North Carolina’s dominating defensive end who was held to two tackles. “They were running where they wanted to. We didn’t think that could ever happen.”

George Godsey threw for 187 yards and a touchdown and ran for another as Georgia Tech (6-2, 3-2 Atlantic Coast Conference) snapped the Tar Heels’ five-game winning streak.

“I’m happy for the players because they’ve come under some undue criticism and really shouldn’t have,” Yellow Jackets coach George O’Leary said. “We’ve played together this year and sometimes they haven’t played smart, but we’ve played to win.”

North Carolina quarterback Darian Durant played the entire game for the first time this season and threw for 286 yards and three touchdowns. He had split time this season with Ronald Curry, but Curry sat out with a hamstring injury.

“That hurt,” Durant said of the loss. “We haven’t had this feeling in quite a while. We had big dreams for this year.”

The Tar Heels (5-4, 4-2), who dropped 1{ games behind Maryland in the ACC, pulled within seven points on Durant’s 21-yard scoring toss to Sam Aiken late in the fourth quarter.

North Carolina had averaged 166 yards rushing during its winning streak but never got on track, failing to gain yardage on any running play in the second quarter. Durant was the leading rusher, gain 12 yards on five carries.

“We want to run the ball, and we know we can most of the time,” said Tar Heels coach John Bunting. “We had some troubles initially getting lined up and doing things the way we wanted, which caused our rhythm to be off.”

Jonathan Smith caught eight passes for 82 yards, including a 17-yard touchdown early in the second quarter to give Georgia Tech a 7-0 lead. Durant’s first scoring toss, a 30-yarder to Kory Bailey, tied the game at 7.

Luke Manget, who missed five field goals in the Yellow Jackets’ last game, missed a 32-yarder in the second quarter, but added two field goals for a 13-7 halftime lead.

Manget has made 120 straight extra points, breaking the school record of 119 held by Scott Sisson. It’s also an ACC record.

The Tar Heels took their only lead on a 15-yard scoring pass from Durant to Aiken early in the third quarter.

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