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Tar Heels Thwart Yellow Jackets 48-43

The North Carolina football team used T.J. Logan’s game-winning touchdown dive with 11 seconds to play to get past Georgia Tech 48-43 in Kenan Stadium Saturday night and improve to 3-4 overall and 1-2 in the ACC.

With the loss, the Yellow Jackets dropped to 5-2 on the season and 2-2 in conference play.

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Quarterback Marquise Williams completed 38 of 47 pass attempts for 390 yards and four touchdowns. At one point in the second half, Williams completed 14 consecutive attempts, one shy of the school record.

“We just had to play with confidence as an offense,” Williams says. “We told the defense as soon as they came off, we said, `We got your back.'”

Williams set the UNC record for completions in a game with 38 (previous was 33 by T.J. Yates vs. NC State in 2010). He also set the UNC record for completions in consecutive games with 62. The previous record was 61 by Yates in 2010.

“All night (Marquise) did a really nice job of taking the ball where it was supposed to go,” UNC head coach Larry Fedora says. “He didn’t force it, and he checked down when we needed to. That’s why we moved the chains the way we did.”

The Yellow Jackets struck first with a Zach Laskey 3-yard touchdown to go up 7-0 with 5:47 to go in the first quarter.

The Tar Heels answered right back when Williams threw an 8-yard touchdown pass to Bug Howard to tie the contest at 7-7 with 1:14 remaining in the first quarter. Georgia Tech responded with a 27-yard field goal by Harrison Butker to snag back the lead at 10-7 with 10:47 left in the half.

A Williams to Ryan Switzer 68-yard touchdown pass pushed UNC ahead 14-10 with 9:13 to go in the second quarter.

Marquise Williams (UNC Athletics)

Marquise Williams (UNC Athletics)

Following some solid defensive effort, the Tar Heels struck again. This time, it was much the same. Williams used his legs to get down the field and then polished the scoring drive off with a 15-yard touchdown pass to Switzer to give UNC a 21-10 advantage with 2:51 left in the second quarter.

The Yellow Jackets didn’t waste any time responding. QB Justin Thomas slung a 12-yard touchdown strike to Tony Zenon to close the gap to 21-17 with 1:25 to play in the half.

To open the second half, Georgia Tech took advantage of their first possession and reclaimed the lead at 24-21 thanks to a 65-yard touchdown pass from Thomas to Darren Walker with 12 minutes remaining in the third quarter.

Carolina answered right back with a scoring drive that was capped off by a 13-yard touchdown run by Williams to push the Tar Heels into the lead at 28-24 with 8:13 on the third quarter clock.

The Tar Heels widened the gap yet again with another impressive drive that ended with a 3-yard touchdown dive by running back Romar Morris that gave UNC the 35-24 lead with 2:36 to play in the third quarter.

Justin Thomas rallied the Jackets back into contention with a 46-yard scoring pass to Deandre Smelter to close the margin down to 35-31 with 14:50 left in the game.

The key play of the game came on a 4th and 6 at the GT 36-yard line. UNC’s Coach Fedora elected to go for it. It paid off. Williams hooked up with Mack Hollins for a 36-yard touchdown pass to give the home team a 42-31 cushion with 12:34 left to play.

Rameses watches on (Elliott Rubin)

Rameses watches on (Elliott Rubin)

The Yellow Jackets responded with a 14-yard touchdown dash by Zach Laskey. But a huge tackle by UNC defender Des Lawrence put a stop to Georgia Tech’s two-point conversion effort. The Tar Heels held a 42-37 advantage with 8 minutes left in the contest.

A 75-yard reverse by Smelter went to the end zone for a touchdown and gave Georgia Tech a 43-42 edge with 3:07 to play.

On the next possession, UNC bounced back strongly.  Logan took the ball in the end zone for the game-winner with a two-yard scoring dive to earn the Tar Heels the 48-43 win.

Georgia Tech had one final possession deep in its own end, but Thomas’ desperation deep heave fell incomplete and receiver Michael Summers dropped Thomas’ short pass.

Next up for UNC comes a trip up to Charlottesville next Saturday to take on the 4-3 Virginia Cavaliers in another critical ACC Coastal matchup.


Tar Heels Look To Avoid Habitual Yellow Jacket Sting

The 2-4 North Carolina football team will welcome 5-1 Georgia Tech to Chapel Hill this weekend for a 7 p.m. kickoff Saturday under the lights at Kenan Stadium. The Tar Heels will be searching for their first ACC win of the season.

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Saturday’s game is a classic contrast in styles. It’s the jumpy, up-tempo UNC offense up against the deliberate, ‘lull you to sleep’ triple-option assault of Georgia Tech.

UNC head coach Larry Fedora says there’s pressure to score on every possession against the Yellow Jackets’ style of play that eats up so much clock.

“Georgia Tech does a tremendous job of possessing the ball. They stay ahead of the chains so they’re not in long-yardage situations on third down. They can still get to their entire offense, which is the triple option. Offensively, you go from averaging 14-15 possessions in a game to 9-10,” Coach Fedora says.

Marquise Williams airs one out (UNC Athletics)

Marquise Williams airs one out (UNC Athletics)

Coach Fedora says the Tar Heels have been preparing a little differently in practice this week – without a football.

“We don’t use a ball when we’re running the triple option. That way, the defense doesn’t know who has the ball because there is no ball. On every play, somebody should be wrapping the fullback up, somebody should have the quarterback and somebody should have the pitch. If they’re not, something is wrong,” Coach Fedora says.

UNC senior defensive tackle Ethan Farmer says gap assignments are a priority against the triple option.

“You’re going to have to fit your gap and do your job. You can’t really worry about the guy next to you; just know that he’s going to be able to do his job. Everybody on this defense has a job to do. If we do our job, we’ll be fine on Saturday,” Farmer says.

Georgia Tech head coach Paul Johnson is worried about the dual-threat ability of Carolina junior quarterback Marquise Williams. Williams is one of only eight players in the country leading his team in both passing yards and rushing yards.

Coach Johnson says the Yellow Jacket defense will try to keep Williams constrained inside the pocket.

“You have to be mindful of your rush lanes. Where he really kills you is adlibbing. You have to do a good job of keeping him in the pocket and not letting him kill you on scramble plays,” Coach Johnson says.

A win this weekend would provide a huge confidence boost to the Tar Heels for multiple reasons.

First, UNC needs to put a stop to the immediate bleeding – a four-game losing streak. But perhaps more importantly, the Tar Heels must exorcise their triple option demons.

GT QB Justin Thomas (

GT QB Justin Thomas (

UNC has succumbed to Georgia Tech on five straight occasions and dropped 14 of the last 16 contests between the schools. In order to harbor any realistic hopes of winning the ACC Coastal this year and what’s more, in any future seasons, the Tar Heels must prove they can find a way past the Yellow Jackets.

Coach Fedora senses that urgency and says the Tar Heels will need to quickly adapt to the speed at which Georgia Tech runs the triple option. But the problem is he also says it’s impossible to adequately simulate Coach Johnson’s offense with a scout team.

“There’s no way you’re going to show them the speed of the game with the triple option in practice. We don’t run it. You’re not going to get a scout team to run the triple option as quickly and efficiently as they do. It takes some time at the beginning of the game to get acclimated to the speed of it. Hopefully, it doesn’t take too long. You’re only going to have so many possessions,” Coach Fedora says.

A quick start is always important, but against the ball-control running of Georgia Tech, it’s even more vital. An early first half lead reminiscent of the 14-0 margin opened up by the Tar Heels a week ago at Notre Dame, could completely change the complexion of the game Saturday night.

Scouting Report: A Chat With GT Coach Paul Johnson

WCHL’s Matt Oakes caught up with Georgia Tech Yellow Jacket head coach Paul Johnson to discuss the state of GT football, the parity in the ACC, the triple-option offense and his matchup with the Tar Heels this weekend in Chapel Hill.

***Listen to the conversation***

UNC Football Turning the Corner À La 2013?

UNC football head coach Larry Fedora is comparing the Tar Heels’ tough 50-43 loss at Notre Dame on Saturday to last season’s 27-23 defeat to Miami in Chapel Hill.

The parallels are plentiful, but will UNC back it up with another dramatic turnaround?

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“There were many bright spots. There were some things that we were able to take from this game [at Notre Dame] and hopefully, we’ll be able to grow on and be a better football team because of it,” Coach Fedora says.

The energy was up. The Tar Heel defenders were flying to the ball and playing with aggression. Marquise Williams and the offense were clicking on all cylinders.

Was Saturday the beginning of a transformation reminiscent of the Miami game on Zero Dark Thursday in Kenan Stadium a year ago?

The similarities are eerie.

Both games were played in mid-October. UNC was largely written off heading into both contests, following sluggish starts to the seasons. The Tar Heels were facing an undefeated and top-ten team on both occasions. And to top it all off, the underdog Tar Heels carried a surprising lead into the fourth quarter only to suffer a painful loss both years.

In 2013, following the Miami defeat, UNC stood at 1-5. But the Tar Heels were a new team afterwards, rallying to win six of their next seven games to finish with a 7-6 record and a Belk Bowl victory.

The precedent is there, but can UNC find that detour road map and navigate through to a bowl game yet again?

Marquise Williams (UNC Athletics)

Marquise Williams (UNC Athletics)

Coach Fedora is confident that if Carolina is able to clean up its own act, the Tar Heels can match up competitively with anyone.

“I think our football team came out of that understanding that if we take care of ourselves, we can play with anybody. But again, for us, it’s about ‘us’. Every team that’s defeated us, you give them the credit, and they’ve done a great job. But we just have to take care of us. If we take care of ‘us’, we give ourselves a chance to win against anybody,” Coach Fedora says.

Coach Fedora is hoping his Tar Heels can draw inspiration from what they were able to accomplish post-Miami in 2013 and apply it to 2014.

“I would say this Notre Dame game was a lot like Miami last year. We learned a lot of lessons in that game and started playing much better. Hopefully, we’ll do the same thing this year,” Coach Fedora says.

If the 2-4 Tar Heels are to embark on a similar recovery effort this season, they’ll have to start the process by overcoming the triple-option attack of Georgia Tech.

Coach Fedora says there is no good way to replicate what Georgia Tech head coach Paul Johnson does with his offense with a scout team in practice.

But Coach Fedora says the team is looking forward to returning home and taking on the Yellow Jackets.

Yellow Jacket offense (Joe Hamilton)

Yellow Jacket offense (Joe Hamilton)

“We’re excited about coming home and playing in front of our home fans again. We’re taking on a very good Georgia Tech team that totally makes you stop what you’re doing on defense and change to prepare for the triple-option attack,” Coach Fedora says.

It will be a tough hurdle to clear Saturday. UNC has dropped 14 out of its last 16 matchups with Georgia Tech, including losses in the last five meetings.

But maybe a narrow miss against a top-10 opponent will again prove to be the necessary fodder for another successful Tar Heel turnaround.

Georgia Tech Stymies Carolina, Claims 2-1 Series Win

The No. 12 North Carolina baseball team dropped an ACC series to Georgia Tech 2-1 over the weekend to fall to 15-8 on the season and 5-4 in ACC play.

With the series victory, the Yellow Jackets improved to 15-9 on the year and 5-4 in conference action.

The Tar Heels survived an extra innings marathon Friday night with Trent Thornton on the mound to claim a 1-0 lead in the three-game set.

But Saturday’s doubleheader went the way of Georgia Tech. The Yellow Jackets edged the Tar Heels in a second straight extra innings contest before routing Carolina 9-1 in the nightcap to claim the series.

Freshman pitcher Zac Gallen struggled, giving up six runs to the Yellow Jacket lineup as the Tar Heel offense failed to produce any sort of offensive help of their own.

Next up for Carolina is a Wednesday meeting with Winthrop. First pitch is slated for 6 p.m. at Boshamer Stadium.

Diamond Heels Meet Yellow Jackets for Three-Game Set in Chapel Hill

The No. 15 North Carolina baseball team, 14-6 on the season and 4-2 in conference, opens up a three-game ACC series with 13-8 Georgia Tech Friday at 5 p.m. at Boshamer Stadium.

The Tar Heels are coming off a rough 5-1 defeat at the hands of the Mountaineers of West Virginia Wednesday evening. Carolina will certainly be hoping to rebound against Georgia Tech when Trent Thornton takes the mound for Friday’s contest.

But the Yellow Jackets should present a formidable challenge, having won six of their last seven games. In addition, Georgia Tech has claimed a series win against UNC in four consecutive seasons.

North Carolina will look to reverse the recent slide to their ACC opponent this weekend, but the young Carolina bats will need to come alive if the Tar Heels want to do so.

UNC and Georgia Tech first met in 1901 and have played every season since the Yellow Jackets joined the ACC in 1980. The Tar Heels trail 56-70 in the all-time series.

No. 13 Tar Heels Fall To Yellow Jackets

ATLANTA– No. 13 North Carolina women’s basketball lost their third straight game Thursday night, falling to Georgia Tech 94-91 to drop to 17-6 overall and 5-4 in the ACC.

With the win, the Yellow Jackets improved to 15-8 on the season and 5-5 in conference play.

It was a back-and-forth affair that was littered with fouls. Both teams got into foul trouble in the second half with four Yellow Jackets picking up their fourth fouls, and UNC’s Danielle Butts and Diamond Deshields picking up their fourths.

Eventually, DeShields fouled out with 22 points and nine rebounds in her homecoming return to Atlanta, but Danielle Butts shouldered on, recording a career high in points with 20.

The Carolina defense struggled to contain the explosive Georgia Tech attack throughout the night.

But despite the struggles, Latifah Coleman got to the line with 6.3 seconds to play with a chance to tie the game at 92 points a piece with a a pair of foul shots. But she missed her first attempt to seal Carolina’s fate.

Next up for the Tar Heels is a Monday night showdown with No. 5 Duke.

Final Box Score

Tar Heel Women Look To Snap Losing Streak With Road Win

ATLANTA– After back-to-back losses, the No. 13 North Carolina women’s basketball team, 17-5 overall and 5-3 in conference play, will be hungry to get back on the winning track Thursday night at 7 p.m. when the Tar Heels go on the road to take on 14-8 Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, 4-5 in the ACC.

A season ago, the Tar Heels snapped a three-game losing streak to the Yellow Jackets in Atlanta with a tight 60-58 win.

Tar Heel stars Diamond DeShields and Allisha Gray both hail from Georgia and will no doubt be looking to put on a show in their homecomings.

Georgia Tech picked up a 77-66 win at Pittsburgh last time out on Monday Freshman standout Kaela Davis registered her fifth double-double of the season.

With a big rivalry game against Duke up next, UNC will want to tune-up with a victory. Carolina plays at No. 5 Duke on Monday at 7 p.m.

Carolina Men’s Basketball Overcomes Obstacles, Grabs First ACC Road Victory 78-65

ATLANTA– The North Carolina men’s basketball team survived treacherous wintry conditions, serious foul trouble, and some sloppy play to down Georgia Tech 78-65 and improve to 13-7 overall and 3-4 in the ACC with the first road conference win of the season.

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With the loss, Georgia Tech fell to 11-10 overall on the season and 2-6 in conference action. The win was a rare one for the Tar Heels in recent times at Georgia Tech. Entering the contest, UNC had dropped five of its last seven games against the Yellow Jackets in Atlanta.

Marcus Paige saved his best play for the second half, scoring all but two of his 17 points for the closing 20 minutes of action. James Michael McAdoo had a solid night on the hardwood with 17 points despite his limited minutes while Kennedy Meeks came oh so close to a double-double with nine points and ten rebounds.

“To me it’s the whole key of a good basketball team, can you play with a great sense of urgency? I think we did on Saturday, and I think we did for the second half today, but we did not for the first half,” Head Coach Roy Williams said after the game.

***Listen to Head Coach Roy Williams’ postgame press conference***

The 13-6 offensive rebounding advantage for the Tar Heels aided in the victory, but McAdoo and J.P. Tokoto had racked up four fouls each by the 15:59 mark in the second half to present some challenges to the visiting Carolina squad.

“I there was a much greater sense of urgency on our guys because James Michael [McAdoo] and J.P. [Tokoto] both were sitting over there. With two of them over there sitting on the bench, I think everybody understood and raised their level of play a little bit,” Coach Williams said.

Georgia Tech’s Trae Golden led the scoring charge for the Yellow Jackets with 21 points, but it wasn’t enough to overcome the determined play of Carolina.

McAdoo won the opening tip for the Tar Heels, and he wasted no time scoring the first points of the game to give the lead to visiting UNC.  Meeks followed that up with a 15-point jumper that found the nets to give Carolina a quick 4-0 lead.

Georgia Tech answered with a make of its own to close the gap to a pair of points with 18 minutes to play in the first half. Paige delivered a beautiful pass to Leslie McDonald in transition to stake Carolina out to a 6-4 advantage with 16:34 on the first half clock.

***Listen to the call by the Tar Heel Sports Network’s Jones Angell and Eric Montross***

McDonald missed an open three-pointer badly off the backboard, but a defensive block by Meeks on the other end provided a Tar Heel lift that Paige converted on, and at the first timeout of the game at the 15:12 mark, the Tar Heels were leading the Yellow Jackets 8-6.

Some sloppy play ensued by both squads that included kicked balls, missed passes and fumbled exchanges in a prolonged period of no scoring. Georgia Tech’s Georges-Hunt ended the drought with a strong slam that was then quickly followed by a score by UNC’s Brice Johnson to place the score at 10-8 in favor of the Tar Heels with 12:40 to go in the opening half.

McDonald buried a three-pointer to give Carolina the 13-10 lead at the 11:57 mark. On a later possession, Johnson couldn’t hang on to a nice pass by Meeks inside, and the ball was swatted away by a swarm of Yellow Jacket defenders.

Daniel Miller was getting the hot hand for Georgia Tech. He sunk a deep jumper to give the home team their first lead at 14-13 with 9:46 on the first half clock. But a long-range two-pointer slid through the basket for McAdoo to reclaim the lead for the Tar Heels.

Paige eyeing the floor (Photo courtesy of UNC Athletic Communications)

Paige eyeing the floor (Photo courtesy of UNC Athletic Communications)

An over-the-top pass from McDonald set up an easy score for McAdoo to extend the UNC gap. On the other end of the floor, the defensive intensity for the Tar Heels was evident in the first half.

Georgia Tech’s sloppy play included 6 turnovers with 5:30 to go in the first half. The Tar Heels were taking full advantage with a 21-15 lead.

A couple quick fouls on UNC allowed Georgia Tech to get to the free throw line and trim the lead down to 24-18 with 3:56 to play in the first half. Following a timeout, Georgia Tech scored on a running coast-to-coast play to narrow the margin down to four points.

Trae Golden ignited the Yellow Jacket crowd by sniping a three-pointer to cut the Tar Heel lead down to a mere three points at 26-23 with under a minute left in the half. A careless foul by Johnson sent Golden to the line for three foul shots. He made two.

At the break, Carolina held a slim 26-25 edge over Georgia Tech after a 10-2 run by the Yellow Jackets.

UNC attempted 17 more shots than Georgia Tech in the first half, but they just weren’t falling as the Tar Heels shot 30 percent from the field while the Yellow Jackets made 46 percent of their attempts.

UNC’s starting perimeter trio of Paige, McDonald and Tokoto went 4-19 from the floor and only managed to make one three-point attempt.

The second half got underway with some Carolina energy. A pair of scores staked UNC out to a 30-26 lead with 18:59 to go in the contest. McAdoo earned a trip to the foul line to inch the lead out to five soon after.

Yellow Jacket Miller broke his long scoring drought to push his nightly total up to ten and trim the Carolina lead back down to three. Meeks answered right back with another made jump shot.

Carolina led 36-31 when Tokoto hit the bench after picking up his fourth foul of the game. With 15:49 to go, McAdoo committed his fourth foul to push UNC into deep trouble with two of their stronger players sitting out so early in the second half.

Georgia Tech cut the lead down to two points before a timely Paige three-pointer fell through the nets to establish a more comfortable advantage yet again.

***Listen to the call***

Coach Williams soon became furious with the McDonald mistakes, and he promptly took him off the court.

A stern Coach Williams looks on (Photo courtesy of UNC Athletic Communications)

A stern Coach Williams looks on (Photo courtesy of UNC Athletic Communications)

Johnson picked up another score to match the largest lead of the night for the Tar Heels at nine points. With 11:47 remaining in the second half, Carolina held the 45-36 lead. The Tar Heels were shooting an incredible 73 percent at that stage.

McDonald popped a three-pointer midway through the second half as the offensively challenged Yellow Jackets continued to struggle. With 7:59 to play, UNC maintained a 48-40 cushion.

Georgia Tech’s Miller continued to keep his team in the contest with tenacious play. But it wasn’t enough to overcome the deficit than felt like more than it was due to the physical, grind-it-out style of the game.

The balanced attack continued for UNC with Paige, McDonald and Meeks all contributing. A ten-point lead for Car0lina at 58-48 at the five-minute mark was enough for Carolina to hold on for the vital 78-65 road victory with some clutch free throws down the stretch by Nate Britt, McDonald and McAdoo.

You can view a game photo gallery right here.

Final Box Score

ATL Bound: Tar Heel Men Take On Yellow Jackets In Midweek Test

ATLANTA– The 12-7 Carolina men’s basketball team, 2-4 in the ACC, will take on 11-9 Georgia Tech, 2-5 in conference, Wednesday night at 7 p.m. in Atlanta.

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After a dominating performance against Clemson on Sunday, the Tar Heels will need to maintain their intensity on the road against the Yellow Jackets, who are coming off an 80-78 overtime loss at N.C.State.

Kennedy Meeks scored 11 points and recorded a team-high eight rebounds to go along with three blocks in the Clemson victory.

Head Coach Roy Williams says despite needing to shed a few more pounds, the freshman is beginning to come into his own on the floor.

“There is no magic weight, but I’d like for him to be lower so he can be more explosive. He didn’t handle it quite as well inside, five out of nine, and every one of his shots were three inches away from the basket. He is doing some good things. He’s working harder defensively, and he is the best passer out of all of them,” Coach Williams says.

James Michael McAdoo put up a team-leading 22 points on Sunday. The junior says he was really enjoying himself in the SmithCenter and is trying to appreciate all the minutes he has playing in a Carolina uniform.

“When I’m out there, I try not to let anything hold me back. Especially when the game is going well, you try to enjoy those moments. You don’t know when the next time you are going to get one,” McAdoo says.

Wednesday’s game figures to be a physical one. Georgia Tech sophomore Robert Carter, Jr. is averaging 9.3 rebounds per game while senior Daniel Miller is second in the ACC in blocked shots.

Senior Leslie McDonald says the Tar Heels need to be up to the challenge and play an attacking style.

“Mac [McAdoo] diving on the floor for extra possession. You see Desmond [Hubert] attacking the board and tapping the ball out for extra possessions. That’s what we need to have,” McDonald says.

McDonald has scored in double figures for three straight games. He says he feels he is being more patient with his shot.

“That’s one thing I’ve worked on a lot – just feeling the flow of the game, letting the game come to me and just playing my game,” McDonald says.

Coach Williams says this UNC squad has a chance to make a run if it chooses to play with the urgency and effort it takes to succeed. He points out the Tar Heels have no room for error this season.

“If they do that every game it will help us. In this league, nothing is a given. […] We’ve got to be able to do that every night. We have no chance if we don’t do that. I’ve had some teams that were very gifted that could win without their best effort, but this is a team that really needs to have that maximum effort,” Coach Williams says.

UNC leads the all-time series against Georgia Tech 63-24, but the two teams have split the last 20 meetings since the 2001-02 season.

Your Tar Heels-Yellow Jackets game day coverage begins on WCHL, 97.9 FM at 5:30 p.m. with Countdown to Tipoff and the game will be nationally televised on ESPN2 at 7 p.m..