Of course, there is nothing mathematical that as yet eliminates the Yellow Jackets from the ACC championship game.
Coach Paul Johnson said he felt as if he had been “gut-punched”. “And I’m just like, man, when it’s ACC play I’m ready to go”. The Yellow Jackets scored their final touchdown early in the third quarter, and four of their final five drives ended without any points. But a couple of hours later they were walking off the field with their third straight defeat and wondering where it all went wrong. “And I thought [offensive coordinator] Seth [Littrell] did a really good job just continuing to do what we do”. North Carolina won last year’s game 48-43 but hasn’t won in Atlanta since 1997.
Johnson said the injuries are a factor but are no excuse.
The culprit for the second straight year was North Carolina quarterback Marquise Williams, who ran for 148 yards and two touchdowns, threw for 134 yards and caught a 37-yard touchdown pass that may have stuck a dagger in the season. His defenders played with much greater energy than did Tech’s at the end (see Williams running untouched for the game’s last touchdown). “Everybody questioned him on the outside”, Fedora said. He came out and played, and he was determined to play well.
After UNC cleared out of its locker room, the celebration continued outside the stadium gates, where players’ families and friends had gathered.
“They filled the gaps and we didn’t get the push we needed”, senior guard Trey Braun said.
Presently the North Carolina Tar Heels sport a record of 3-1, and have published a corresponding slate of 2-2 against the spread. That’s when the meltdown really began. Even with UNC struggling Williams stayed in the game and ultimately ability as a rusher was a huge plus against a suspect Yellow Jacket run defense. ” … You know, he took a lot of criticism last week”. For the game Collins collected ten tackles, nine of them solo and two for a loss to go along with a key forced fumble. “Then, while you’ve got them on their heels, we came back at them with that play”.
Pittsburgh 17, Virginia Tech 13: Qadree Ollison ran for 122 yards and a second-half touchdown and Pittsburgh limited Virginia Tech to just 100 yards of offense Saturday in both teams’ Atlantic Coast Conference openers. The Yellow Jackets fumbled four times, losing one, and converted only 5-of-13 on third down.
“Right now we’re not good enough in any facet to overcome that”, Johnson said. We need contributions from everybody. It’s got to be offense, defense and special teams. “No one was yelling at each other on the sideline”.
The Yellow Jackets lead the FBS in fewest penalties (seven) and fewest penalty yards (59).
The first drive went 64 yards, required 10 plays and culminated in a 1-yard run by Thomas. He rushed eight times for 48 yards and one touchdown and caught a 13-yard pass for a first down.
Detrez Newsome had two touchdowns, including a 72-yard scoring run, and finished with 189 yards on 25 carries for Western Carolina (2-2), which snapped a two-game skid. After forcing Tech to punt, UNC got 56 seconds to try and add another to their tally before the break.
And while the Tar Heels new defensive coordinator, former Auburn head guy Gene Chizik, was being overrun in the first half, it bears notice that his guys gave up only 51 rushing yards in the second half.