Nov 15, 2003
By KEITH PARSONS
AP Sports Writer
ATLANTA – P.J. Daniels ran for a career-high 240 yards – 155 in an overpowering second half – and Georgia Tech became bowl eligible with a 41-24 victory over North Carolina on Saturday.
Nate Curry caught two touchdown passes, including a 26-yarder from fellow wide receiver Jonathan Smith in the fourth quarter. Smith had a TD catch and returned a punt 73 yards for the clinching score late in the fourth quarter.
Reggie Ball added three touchdown passes to help the Yellow Jackets (6-4, 4-3 Atlantic Coast Conference) bounce back from a loss to Duke.
Daniels’ total was the second best in school history, trailing only the 356 gained by Eddie Lee Ivery in 1978. The previous high for Daniels was 175 yards this season against Wake Forest.
He also had a career-high 36 carries.
The Tar Heels (2-9, 1-6), who have the worst defense in the ACC, allowed more than 200 yards rushing for the seventh time this season. The lowest total they’ve given up is 164 in a victory over East Carolina on Oct. 11.
Darian Durant threw two touchdown passes and ran for another score for North Carolina, which gave up at least 40 points for the fourth time.
After North Carolina’s Dan Orner kicked a 39-yard field goal to tie it at 17 in the third quarter, Georgia Tech drove 81 yards in 17 plays – all but two on the ground – for a go-ahead field goal.
The drive took the final six minutes of the third quarter and spanned eight seconds into the fourth, with Daniels gaining 46 yards. Dan Burnett’s kick from 31 yards made it 20-17.
The Tar Heels then drove deep into the Yellow Jackets’ territory, but Jacque Lewis fumbled after catching a pass from Durant. Reuben Houston recovered for Georgia Tech, which again turned to Daniels.
He gained 52 yards on the possession, capped by a 26-yard reverse pass from Smith to Curry, and the Yellow Jackets led 27-17.
North Carolina closed within three on an 8-yard TD pass from Durant to Lewis, but Ball sealed it on the next drive, throwing 30 yards to a streaking Smith for a 34-24 lead.
The Tar Heels, who beat Wake Forest last week, took a 14-10 lead at the half on a 2-yard pass from Durant to Bobby Blizzard with 50 seconds left. Durant added a 1-yard TD run in the first quarter.