(Saturday, November 8th)
Final Score: (19) North Carolina 28, (22) Georgia Tech 7
Chapel Hill, NC (Sports Network) - Ryan Houston ran for 74 yards and two touchdowns, as the 19th-ranked North Carolina Tar Heels won a defensive struggle, 28-7, over the 22nd-ranked Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets.
The victory pulls North Carolina (7-2, 3-2 ACC), into a virtual five-way tie for the ACC Coastal division lead. Georgia Tech (7-3, 4-3) sits percentage points below the Tar Heels, while Virginia Tech, Miami-Florida and Virginia all have 3-2 conference records.
Cameron Sexton completed only 7-of-16 passes for 100 yards and two scores for North Carolina, which was coming off a victory against Boston College. Zack Pianalto registered a receiving touchdown, and Shaun Draughn ran for 90 yards on 17 carries in the victory.
"We knew coming into this game that this was going to be a tough competition for us," Sexton said. "I mean, that's a good football team we beat today, but we were fully prepared for the game, and we were able to pull out a win."
Hakeem Nicks added 72 yards and a touchdown on three catches, setting the record for most career receiving yardage in UNC football history, with 2,472 yards. He surpassed the record of 2,447, which was held by Corey Holliday, who played with the Tar Heels from 1989-1993.
"It was a great feeling (to set the record)," Nicks said. "Like I said before, there wasn't a better way than doing it in front of my home crowd. I felt the love and support from my fans."
Josh Nesbitt ran for 62 yards on 15 carries, while throwing for 97 yards on 10-of-22 passing for the Yellow Jackets, who had won five of their previous six games. Jonathan Dwyer led the team's triple option attack with 157 yards and a score on 22 carries.
"We didn't do a very good job," Georgia Tech head coach Paul Johnson said. "We were trying to run some low scheme and block some linebackers, and they ran right through it. We were playing without both tackles, and we lost both guards in the first half. It changed the whole game."
Draughn starred on the opening drive for North Carolina, leading to a touchdown. The tailback ran for 41 yards and caught a 14-yard pass, and Pianalto finished off the nine-play drive with an eight-yard touchdown catch from Sexton.
Neither team managed to score in the second quarter, but Scott Blair missed two field goal attempts for the Yellow Jackets -- and the Tar Heels maintained their seven-point lead into halftime.
A muffed punt gave North Carolina great field position at Georgia Tech's 30 late in the third. The Tar Heels found the end zone in six plays, as Houston ran in from two yards out for a 14-0 lead with 13:57 to play in the fourth.
The Tar Heels had another short field -- starting from the Yellow Jackets 32 -- after Jaybo Shaw recovered a fumble. Houston ran for another score from three yards out on the fifth play of the drive for a three-touchdown advantage.
Dwyer broke up the shutout late in the fourth for Georgia Tech, running down the left sideline for an 85-yard touchdown with six minutes remaining.
The ensuing onside kick attempt failed, and Sexton hit Nicks on 4th-and-2 from the 31 for a touchdown, restoring the Tar Heels' 21-point lead.
Trimane Goddard intercepted Nesbitt's second pass on the ensuing series for North Carolina, securing the victory.
Despite the loss, Georgia Tech has won nine of the past 11 between the schools and leads the all-time series, 23-18-3...Coming into the game, both team's conference losses were to Virginia Tech and Virginia...The Yellow Jackets outgained the Tar Heels, 423-314.
11/08 16:47:28 ET