Late in the third quarter, T.J. Logan scored a 21-yard rushing touchdown to put UNC up 24-21. Obviously, that’s still plenty of time for any team to come back, but at that point Carolina looked to be semi-in control of things. However, some bad officiating (at least in the view of this extremely biased observer), as well as some extremely dumb Carolina mistakes made sure that was not the case.
On the next drive, a pair of third down pass interference penalties on Patrice Rene kept Georgia’s drive alive. After Georgia scored to cut UNC’s lead to three, a questionable ineligible receiver penalty lead to Larry Fedora losing his mind and getting an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty.
That pinned Carolina deep in their own territory, and led to a safety when Mitch Trubisky and Elijah Hood both made mental errors on screen pass. That cut the lead to two, and sent UNC down a slide they couldn’t climb back up. In the end, Georgia won 33-24, and North Carolina started their season with an extremely frustrating loss. Again.
Early on, the game went as a lot of people thought it would: Nick Chubb running all over the Carolina defense. After exchanging punts to start the game, Chubb scored a touchdown on Georgia’s second drive.
UNC answered back on a Trubisky naked boot leg to tie the game. However, the offense looked off for much of the first half. Much like last year’s opener, lack of touches for Hood was a source of frustration. Despite the struggles against Chubb, Carolina allowed just one more touchdown in the first half, and went in down just four after a late field goal from Nick Weiler.
Logan then ran back the opening kickoff to start the second half, giving Carolina their first lead of the game. On the next drive, UNC forced Georgia into a field goal attempt, which they missed. Then Logan’s rushing touchdown happened, as did the rest of the aforementioned stupidity.
Later, a Georgia field goal gave them a 26-24 lead, with still a lot of time left of the board. However, UNC had no answer after that. A drive stalled after a questionable incomplete pass call on a pass Mack Hollins was initially ruled to have caught. Carolina punted it away, Georgia scored on the next possession and that was it.
There are undoubtedly people mad online right now about officiating. While it wasn’t great (again, biased observer here), there are a lot of factors that lead to this loss. In total, UNC was penalized 13 times for 101 yards, many of them silly, self-inflicted mistakes.
The offense managed 315 total yards, but gave just 16 total carries to Hood and Logan. Hood got 72 yards on 10 carries, while Logan averaged 13.3 yards per rush, but received just six carries.
Trubisky struggled, especially on deep balls. More than once, a receiver beat the secondary but couldn’t come down with the catch. Not all of them were totally Trubisky’s fault, but UNC’s quarterback did not connect on a deep ball all night.
Also the rushing defense struggled, but that’s not new, and was expected. Chubb racked up 222 yards.
Next week, Carolina has a chance to rebound against Illinois. Last year, UNC lost their opening game in a frustrating way, and bounced back to have an excellent season. It’s still possible. It would just be nice to win one of these marquee games.