Al Groh’s defensive crew gave up a score on its opening drive, but at least they made the Heels work for it. Halfback Johnny White led Carolina on a 15-play field goal drive that lasted almost eight minutes.
Tech A-back Orwin Smith peeled off the longest run of his career, a 73-yard misdirection pitch behind excellent wide receiver blocking.
Heels receiver Erik Highsmith immediately responded, taking advantage of true freshman safety Isaiah Johnson on a wide open 52-yarder.
Joshua Nesbitt attempted his first and only pass of the quarter on the next drive, a 23-yard scoring loft to Roddy Jones.
T.J. Yates has continued his Chick Fil A Kickoff Game lightning dangerman tradition, completing nine of 11 for 122 yards and looking more evasive in the pocket than he probably should. He’s gotten six different receivers involved already.
The option is finally in regular season form, with four rushers combining for 120 yards. Outside blocking looks much improved — Jones leveled a cornerback on a long run by Embry Peeples. Nesbitt has yet to run any keepers.
Steven Sylvester continues to provide Tech’s only serious pass rush. Run defense doesn’t look quite as terrible as the past two weeks. Defensive tackle T.J. Barnes has made a handful of appearances in the backfield and stuffed the third-down run that forced UNC’s opening-drive field goal.