ATLANTA — After allowing 24 points and 22 points in the second and fourth quarters, respectively, No. 17 North Carolina fell to Georgia Tech 46-42 Saturday night at Bobby Dodd Stadium.
On a long night on the ground, Omarion Hampton totaled 153 yards and two touchdowns on 29 carries. Through the air, Drake Maye completed 68 percent of his passes for 310 yards and two touchdowns. Tight end Bryson Nesbit led the Tar Heels with 89 receiving yards and a touchdown.
The Yellow Jackets rampaged through the Tar Heels to the tune of 348 rushing yards, including 246 in the fourth quarter alone. Dontae Smith totaled 178 yards on 22 carries, including a 70-yard touchdown run early in the fourth quarter. Haynes King threw for 287 yards, four touchdowns and one interception.
Watch and read everything UNC coach Mack Brown had to say after the Tar Heels’ second straight loss…
“Congratulations to Georgia Tech. It was a great game, both teams ran down the field and neither team stopped. And we hurt ourselves more than them with penalties. And it was so weird that we played good defense in the first quarter and bad defense in the second quarter. Then, good defense, the third quarter even though our offense had the ball the vast majority of the time, and then we played a horrible defensive fourth quarter, it was horrible.
“Hanes King did an incredible job throwing the ball and he picked our corners. We spread out to try to help the corners, intercepted the ball and forced a punt to start the second half. I thought we were in great shape. And then they adjusted and ran the ball and we couldn’t stop it. So very, very disappointing. There are four big matches left and really three rival matches. November, we didn’t end last year well. So we have to go home, grow up, deal with it, take responsibility for it and move on.
“I hadn’t thought about it, but it really did, it was just horrible. It was horrible. I’ve never seen anyone pick it up, put it back on and run 10 yards in one go. And I told the guys I can’t answer what happened right now. So we’ll watch it on the plane home and we’ll adjust and see how much of this is coaching and how much of this is their responsibility and not point fingers. Everyone will, but we didn’t do it well. So you have to take responsibility for it. We have to grow up, man up and get ready to play next week.
“Yeah, I thought it happened last week, it worries me, it was two weeks in a row.” Because Virginia ran the ball for 228 I think and tonight they ran the ball for 350 or something like that and you can’t win games. We talked about our mismanagement last week, we handled it pretty well tonight. We played pretty well on offense, but it was really bad on defense.
“I don’t know. I have to watch the video. If I had known, I could have helped them adapt. And we didn’t do that either.
“I don’t know. I guess not, the training was really good. I guess it wasn’t a hangover in attack but in defense. I mean, and the kicking game was probably the best we’ve had, except for the one block punt. And that didn’t hurt us because we ended up with an interception on the next play.
“I don’t know. He was fine, he was talking. As for what happened, it’s up to the doctors to talk about it. They want to talk to his family and all that before me. I haven’t received any response from them. Except that he was conscious and talking.
“Yeah, it’s really bad. This is the first time we have had it like last year. I thought last week was bad and tonight was really bad for two quarters. Why it’s good for two quarters and bad for two quarters, I can’t answer. And we’ll have guys who played good defense. That’s the problem.
“It’s one, I don’t know what to say. I mean, I’ve been doing this for 35 years and I’ve never seen two quarters this bad and two quarters this good. Like you said, it’s a lot like App State last year. But I thought we were beyond that on defense and it’s really, really disappointing. So we have to go back and sit down with each player and still play. And we have to look at the calls and see if we have them lined up correctly. And then we had to figure out if that was the case, why didn’t they make the parts. So it’s just a combination of both when you play that poorly for two quarters, it’s everyone’s responsibility.
“Yeah, and it’s a roller coaster. You look at all the scores today, they could well play next week, or the next. You can’t say it anymore. You must have a new game every week. That’s why everyone in college football got pretty good. This team beat Miami in Miami. So give them credit.
“I don’t play good defense. And I approached him. I mean, I don’t know what happened. I don’t know what was wrong either. You have to watch the calls. You have to look at the athlete, the coaches, and you have to look at the players when it’s this inconsistent. …And they didn’t stop us either. I mean it will go unnoticed. Because the winner doesn’t talk about the bad things, the loser only talks about the bad things. So I got this. This is how our life is.
“We didn’t play well in two quarters tonight. And we played really well offensively, and we probably had our best night on the kicks. So did our defense play poorly for two quarters? Absolutely. As bad as we’ve played since App State last year, absolutely. Didn’t we play good defense last week? I did not mean it. So we have to improve defensively over the last four weeks. Offensively, I didn’t think we played as well as we could last week. This evening? I mean, if you score 42 points, you should win the game.
“They’re crushed and I have to get them back. I mean, that’s what everyone blames them for. And when you look, I was on the ground. I was hard on them last week at the start of the week, and I picked that up as the week went on because I was so disappointed and I didn’t think we were playing with energy. I thought they tried tonight. They were ready to play. They were excited. Started the game at 21-7. They started well, they had ticked all the boxes until we didn’t.