If last night’s crushing loss to Georgia Tech has any silver lining, it shows that you absolutely care about Carolina Football. If you wore tar heel gear just for basketball, you wouldn’t mind. It might be a little annoying, but if all the hype, anticipation and anticipation built up by a season of close shaves made you nauseous, then congratulations! They love UNC.
Therein lies virtue.
Anyway, here are three things we learned from last night’s 21-17 loss to Georgia Tech.
Everyone is entitled to a bad day at the office. Drake Maye has been outstanding this season and aside from his two-interception day in Miami was the only comparable performance, but he still threw for 309 yards and two touchdowns.
But in the next game after his magnificent performance at Wake Forest – when UNC released a Heisman campaign video for him – surely such a disaster must be a dangerous sign.
Maye felt uncomfortable in the bag all night. Antoine Green was out so Maye couldn’t exaggerate. Bryson Nesbit and Gavin Blackwell had the longest catches of the night (36 and 33 yards, respectively), but both had plenty of YAC. Green’s absence didn’t keep Georgia Tech’s safety honest as they didn’t have to consider his straight-line speed.
Maye has been sacked six times, two fewer than the total attracted by Sam Howell at Mercedes-Benz Stadium last year. Luckily, none of them were the kind of killshot to hobble the redshirt freshman, so he should be good enough to face NC State.
Maye will know what to look forward to on Friday as NCSU has even better defenses and they will look to cause chaos to back up their suspect offense.
After Josh Downs failed to secure the winning touchdown catch, Georgia Tech captured the ball 4-10 in the game at their own 19. UNC had all of their timeouts. Tar Heel’s defense ranked 3rd and 4th, allowing a swing pass to the running back to reach the sticks for the millionth time in the game.
On the next few descents, Carolina took the Jackets to 3rd and 9th after a massive false start. Hassan Hall charged straight down the middle and brought down the first.
In the distant future, alien scientists will study the ruins of human civilization on Earth and discover records of Carolina fans arguing about Gene Chizik’s defense philosophy. Georgia Tech only scored 21 points, which overall isn’t too bad. But not being able to rely on UNC to leave the field when they absolutely had to… on the 3rd & 9th???!!! That’s crazy!
The offensive did the defense no favors, this scenario should never have happened. But if Carolina can miraculously stay ahead or take the lead against Clemson in the fourth quarter, we’ll have to rely on defense to pull off a hard stop. can you do it It remains to be seen.
It’s no secret that Carolina has placed great emphasis on Drake Maye’s arm and his telepathic link with Josh Downs to get the offense rolling. But it seemed like the Heels thought they could make hay with the running game against Georgia Tech, and early results were promising.
I mean, that’s the first move of the game. Carolina fans must have thought this game was in the bag.
Elijah Green was deprived of a second spectacular touchdown run thanks to a hold on Nesbit (who really did look like he’d just been driven into the ground) in the third quarter’s opening drive. That would have put Georgia Tech behind 23-7 and maybe took some of the sting out of their tail.
It was nice to see Omarion Hampton out of the kennel too. This was his first time since the Pitt game. Hampton had a crucial fourth down conversion and a 25-yard gain. The true novice allowed blocks to set in front of him and seems to have learned the lesson that sometimes you have to go slow to go fast.
Hopefully Elijah Green will have to take a break from running for a 75-yard touchdown against NC State, and when he does, Hampton will be eager to resume his role as alternate and show Mack Brown he can count on it that he’s not fumbling the ball, and challenge for the starring role next season.