Inside Carolina/Jim Hawkins

First Report: UNC Offense Dominates Georgia Tech

The Tar Heels' 636 total yards of offense are a season high.

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – No. 18 North Carolina scored on eight of its first nine possessions in rolling to a 48-20 victory over Georgia Tech on Saturday.

UNC churned out 502 total yards of offense through three quarters and finished with a season-high 636 yards. Mitch Trubisky completed 20 of his 32 passes for 329 yards and a touchdown, and also ran six times for 44 yards and a touchdown. The junior quarterback was even better on third down, completing 9-of-11 passes for 85 yards and seven first downs.

The Tar Heels were equally as effective on the ground, rushing for a season-high 283 yards and five touchdowns on 35 carries (8.1 yards per rush).

Hood Back On Track

Elijah Hood rushed for a season-high 114 yards in the first quarter alone. The junior running back, who was knocked out of the Florida State game with a concussion and missed the following loss to Virginia Tech, finished with 168 yards and three touchdowns on 12 carries.

Hood’s previous season high came in UNC’s last outing at Virginia, where he churned out 107 yards and a touchdown on 16 carries. He’s averaging 9.8 yards per carry over his last two games.

Bending But Not Breaking

UNC allowed Georgia Tech to roll up 518 total yards of offense at an 7.6 yards-per-play clip, but held its opponent to two touchdown drives and four scoring drives in all. The Yellow Jackets scored 13 points in six trips to the red zone.

Georgia Tech’s 7.6 yards-per-play mark is the second-most UNC has allowed in a game this season (Florida State, 7.9) and the fifth-most allowed in the Larry Fedora era. 

Howard Continues 100-Yard Streak

Fedora needed a wide receiver to step up in Mack Hollins’s absence, and Bug Howard has done just that. The senior wide receiver caught six passes for 120 yards and a touchdown on Saturday, extending his streak of 100-yard receiving games to three.

Howard has caught 23 passes for 385 yards and two touchdowns in his last three games.

Explosive Plays Set the Tone Early

The game’s first five touchdown drives consisted of explosive plays exceeding 35 yards.

On UNC’s opening drive, Hood’s rush off the left side netted 45 yards and set his offense up just outside the red zone. Georgia Tech took advantage of a busted assignment late in the first quarter as Justin Thomas connected with Clinton Lynch for an 83-yard touchdown pass play. The Tar Heels responded with a long scoring play on their next possession, when Hood broke through the line on 4th-and-inches for a 36-yard touchdown run.

Dedrick Mills utilized an offensive lineman to keep him off the ground for a 39-yard run to set up Georgia Tech’s second touchdown drive, and UNC capped the explosive scoring display when Trubisky found a wide open Bug Howard down the right sideline for a 68-yard touchdown pass.

Critical Play

Georgia Tech won the coin toss and elected to defer, thereby placing significance on the Yellow Jackets’ final possession of the first half. Trailing 27-17, Paul Johnson’s offense needed a score to enter halftime down one possession with the second-half kickoff in its pocket.

UNC’s defense forced a red zone stop, and then the special teams kick block unit delivered as freshman D.J. Ford blocked Harrison Butker’s 32-yard field goal attempt to protect the 10-point lead.

Up Next

UNC has little time to celebrate or rest with a short week ahead. The Tar Heels travel to Wallace Wade Stadium for a rivalry matchup with Duke on Thursday night.

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