North Carolina Hopes Off-Week Helps Solve Georgia Tech
Georgia Tech (4-5, 3-3) at North Carolina (6-3, 3-2), 12:30 PM, ACC Network
As a defender, there’s not much fun about facing off against Georgia Tech’s triple-option attack. You have an assignment and you tackle that person play after play after play after play, even if you know he doesn’t have the ball. “It gets frustrating because you’re like, ‘I know he doesn’t have the ball but I’ve got to tackle him anyway.’ But at some point in the game, you’ve got to understand he’s going to have the ball and you’re going to make a play,” defensive tackle Sylvester Williams said.
“The other 12 times in the series that he doesn’t, you’ve got to tackle him anyway and then get up and then run to the person who does have the ball. It’s nerve-wracking, but at the same time, it’s my job and I want my team to win. …. I may make a couple tackles on the fullback this game, but if not, I’m going to have fun tackling him and he’s going to take a beating.”
The Tar Heels are playing a lot of youngsters on defense, and they’ve had lapses from time to time, particularly in the secondary. All it takes is one missed coverage at the wrong time and Georgia Tech will be in the end zone. Williams remembered his first taste of the offense last year and how long it took him to adjust.
“Last year, it came as a shock to me. I had guys telling me, ‘It’s going to be like this, Sly.’ Then I played and I was like, ‘Yeah, they were right – except ten times faster.’ You can’t really prepare for it,” Williams said. “You’ve got to kind of go into the game and hope that you did everything you could in practice and hope you’re a good enough player to get the job done.”
Because of NCAA sanctions, North Carolina can’t recognize the Coastal Division crown if they finish with the best record. But they’d like to go ahead and do that anyway. “Our goal is to win the Coastal Division, and we are still within reach of our goal. I think they’re excited about that,” North Carolina head coach Larry Fedora said. “They know that we really control our own destiny if we take care of our business. I think the main focus for these two weeks has been Georgia Tech.”
Moments in Georgia Tech-North Carolina history: Georgia Tech leads the series 26-18-3 and 16-12-1 since joining the ACC, but in Chapel Hill, the series is much closer (an 11-9-3 Georgia Tech lead). Carolina has lost the last two meetings by a combined 13 points.
Hey, remember when Stephen Hill could catch? Me neither. But he could!
The last time North Carolina beat Georgia Tech was 2008….and look at what color their jerseys were!
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Prediction: North Carolina, 37-27. In wins, Georgia Tech has averaged 422.8 rushing yards per game while in losses, just 234.6. North Carolina can actually defend the run. Though this isn’t a conventional rushing attack, the Tar Heels have had a week to prepare (insert narrative about teams coming off an open date before Georgia Tech). And Georgia Tech’s defense still isn’t very good.