Heels Throw It Away

Strong showing for Balmer, UNC D

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – The weather was unusually warm, but North Carolina's on the field display was all too familiar on Saturday versus No. 18 Georgia Tech. The Tar Heels' defense was as stingy as it has been all year, but once again crucial mistakes enabled the Yellow Jackets to clinch the ACC's Coastal Division crown with a 7-0 victory.

"The locker room is not a fun place to be after a game like that," said John Bunting. "We have had several games this year that have had that similar feel."

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  • The final tally marked the lowest scoring game UNC has been involved in since a 3-0 loss to Wake Forest on Oct 22, 1966 at Kenan Stadium.

    Tech coach Chan Gailey said, "It's our first shutout since 2000. It's hard to shutout anybody, I don't care who it is; but this team, that had been playing a little bit better. The two red zone turnovers were huge in the ball game."

    Twice in the game with his team knocking at the door, Joe Dailey – who finished with 156 passing yards on 13-of-34 attempts – delivered the ball to players wearing the wrong jerseys.

    "I didn't put enough on it or put too much on it," Dailey said, attempting to explain why his last three interceptions have occurred in the end zone. "You don't want to stretch the field that much in the red zone because everything's so condensed, so you try to be too precise."

    Dailey's nine interceptions (and Cam Sexton's eight) are the primary reason the Tar Heels rank next to last nationally heading into this week and now have a turnover margin at minus-14.

    But the picks thrown by the UNC quarterbacks have been considerably punitive this year. On a day when the Tar Heels' defense played its best game and a rare circumstance in which their offense out-gained its opponent, Carolina still seemingly couldn't get out of its own way to secure a win.

    The Tar Heels have now lost seven straight games since defeating Furman back on Sept. 16.

    Tech's 221 yards of total offense were the fewest allowed by the Tar Heels (1-9, 0-6 ACC) this season.

    "It's always frustrating when one side of the ball is having nice success and the other one suffering," linebacker Larry Edwards said. "Win as a team, lose as a team; all this is a team effort. We're not going to point the fingers. We're just going to come back next week and say, 'What can we do better to help our offense?'"

    For the first time this season the Carolina defense held its opponent scoreless in the opening period, but Tech struck first on a three-yard touchdown run by junior tailback Tashard Choice.

    The 20-play, 83-yard march, which took 10:30 off the clock, set an ACC record for longest drive of the season. A pair of UNC penalties extended the Jackets' mammoth drive – a pass interference call against Jacoby Watkins on a 3rd-and-22 and an offside whistle on Hilee Taylor negated a 3rd down stop.

    Trailing 7-0, UNC didn't begin its second possession until the 11:44 mark of the second quarter.

    Choice's 119 rushing yards on 32 carries carried the Yellow Jackets.

    The Tar Heels host rival N.C. State (3-7, 2-5) next Saturday at noon. The Wolfpack are coming off a 20-14 loss to Clemson.

    "I don't think (beating N.C. State and Duke) is going to make everything better," said Ronnie McGill, who tallied 77 yards on 20 tries. "If we come out there and beat State, there will be a lot of happy people, but it's still going to be a disappointing season."

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