Well. After seemingly playing in one possession games every week, things finally fell apart for North Carolina on Saturday as they fell 21-17 to Georgia Tech. While any playoff chances were already very slim to begin with, we can definitely put those to bed now. Thankfully, the Coastal Division has already been locked up, and a ACC title would still make for a good season, but Saturday night was a pretty galling performance.
On so many other occasions, UNC’s offense has been the driving force, with the defense chipping in with some important plays to get the Heels across the line. That was not the case against the Yellow Jackets.
After getting out to a quick start and scoring the first 17 points of the game, the Carolina offense went into a shell after that. They didn’t score over the final 33 minutes of the game, scored just one touchdown from five red zone trips, and averaged just 3.7 yards per play over the second half.
The Heisman hype for Drake Maye is probably dead now. While he still could get an invite to New York, he did he case no favors. Maye was 16-30 for 202 yards, no touchdowns, and one interception as he never looked comfortable while getting sacked six times. Drops from receivers (including a bad one from Josh Downs on a fourth down that might’ve turned into a go ahead touchdown) didn’t help, but it was definitely Maye’s worst game this year.
Downs had that crucial drop and in general didn’t have a great day. He caught just 3 passes on five targets for 31 yards. With that happening and Antoine Greene out, UNC really struggled to move the ball.
The defense was the better unit in this game, but allowing 373 yards to a Georgia Tech team starting their third string quarterback isn’t exactly great. They also couldn’t come up with on either attempt a third down stop on Tech’s final drive, which would’ve at least kept Carolina in with a shot.
Anyway, if you have to choose someone for player of the game, there’s really only a couple choice. On the offense, you could maybe say Elijah Green. He scored both UNC touchdowns and ran for 92 yards on 10 attempts. Now that per attempt average is inflated a bit as one of his touchdowns was an 80-yarder, but it’s better than anyone else on the offense did. Bryson Nesbitt ended up with 85 yards on four catches as the only one Maye was able to find semi-consistently. On defense, Cedric Gray put up a game-high 14 tackles, and Storm Duck had an interception. Outside of those four, the box score is not great reading, nor would it be for such a bad loss.