The North Carolina Tar Heels offense found itself in the second half, producing three touchdowns in 15 minutes to force a tie score in the second half. But for the first time since their 1990 national championship season, the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets are 4-0 after winning, 35-28.
Two touchdown passes from Bryn Renner and a 55-yard breakout by Giovani Bernard, his second touchdown of the day, made it 28-28 with eight minutes to go. Eight minutes is about one standard Paul Johnson drive's worth of time, but this year's Jackets team favors the quick strike ... a 48-yard Roddy Jones run set up a Tevin Washington dive, and the Jackets retook the lead with five to go.
Bernard remained the entire UNC offense, reaching 180 yards worth of total offense a minute into the drive. The Heels had a hard time keeping Renner clean, however, as Steven Sylvester racked up Tech's fourth sack of the day. A sign of how much Carolina needs Bernard: they ran him up the middle on second-and-17 with three minutes left while down by a touchdown. On third-and-22, Renner overshot his man, and a pair of penalties gave Tech the ball at midfield after the punt.
Tech burned clock and punted back, giving up a third-and-long conversion despite putting constant, overwhelming pressure on Renner. A UNC penalty inside the 10-second mark ended the game -- which might please a few Tennessee Volunteers fans who saw their team lose the Music City Bowl to this very Heels team before that rule was enacted
496 yards worth of total offense isn't quite what Tech's offense has cranked out so far this year, but it's still a strong showing against a talented -- if undisciplined -- defense. And if not for a dropped catch by Stephen Hill, who otherwise had a great game, it would be more like 530 total yards.
For more, roll up on Georgia Tech blog From The Rumble Seat and North Carolina blog Carolina March.