Sam Howell and also the Tar Heels take it on the Yellow Jackets in Mercedes-Benz Stadium

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North Carolina and also Georgia technology came right into 2021 with different goals. The Tar Heels were taken into consideration one of the favorites to success the ACC coastal and had eyes on taking under Clemson to success the conference. For Georgia Tech, this season was around taking the following step in Year 3 under head coach Geoff Collins, i beg your pardon to many meant bowl eligibility. While the is still in play, the accident to north Illinois and also Clemson, coupled through a schedule the still features Notre Dame and also Georgia, make the game versus UNC essential in the Jackets' postseason pursuit.

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North Carolina has actually gotten far better each week and though they suffered the week 1 loss to Virginia Tech, their aspirations space still in ~ reach. But the Heels cannot afford to drop any much more ACC contests, especially in the division.

Georgia Tech has actually an leaf in this series and has overcame play in recent years. Due to the fact that 1998, the Jackets have actually won 16 and also lost just six.

No. 21 phibìc Carolina vs. Georgia Tech

Kickoff: Saturday, Sept. 25 at 7:30 p.m. ETWhere: Mercedes-Benz stadium (Atlanta)TV: ACC NetworkSpread: north Carolina -12.5

When north Carolina has actually the Ball

I'd say that the Tar Heels' offense has discovered its groove. For the second consecutive week, coordinator Phil Longo's unit scored 59 points, and this previous week was against a Virginia defense that had surrendered just 14 total points in its an initial two games. Perhaps the most important facet of the attack explosion to be the introduction of the running game. Quarterback Sam Howell had another 100-yard rushing game, however Ty Chandler was just a pair yards shy that 200 and also Caleb Hood had 66 on nine rushes.

Of course, if Carolina deserve to run the round that way, Howell will have passing lanes. The small threw because that 307 yards and five touchdowns against the Cavaliers in his most reliable passing video game so much this season. And vast receiver mock Downs is rapidly ending up being a star. Through 203 yards against Virginia, Downs is now 2nd nationally through 399 receiving yards. Antoine Green and also Khafre Brown need to pitch in more, however if UNC have the right to run the round that effectively and Downs can continue to create at this clip, the offense will hum.




Despite sitting at 1-2, the Georgia tech defense has actually played exceptionally well in each of its 3 games. This previous weekend, the Yellow Jackets frustrated Clemson and also held them come 284 full yards. Interestingly, Georgia Tech's happen defense — which ranked 111th in the country last year — currently ranks fifth, enabling just 124 yards per game. The Jackets haven't created a lot of of negative plays, yet they have discovered a way to gain off the ar when they require to. Hybrid linebacker Charlie Thomas currently has a couple of interceptions and also is 2nd on the team through 24 tackles. 

When Georgia Tech has the Ball

At this point, it definitely looks as though Jordan Yates is the starting quarterback. Yates came in because that an hurt Jeff Sims in the opener and also has bring away every snap because despite indications that Sims is fit to play. In the 3 games, Yates has completed 66 percent the his happen attempts with five touchdowns and no picks, so he has been an extremely efficient. Even against Clemson's imposing defense, the went 20-of-33 for 203 yards and was the main offensive shining spot.

To optimal things off, Yates led Georgia technology in rushing last week. The can't take place if the Yellow Jackets expect to spring an upset this week. Running backs Jahmyr Gibbs and also Jordan Mason will have to be a factor, permitting Yates the possibility to emphasis on distributing the ball to Malachi Carter, Kyric McGowan, and the various other receivers.

But that won't be easy for the Georgia tech running game. North Carolina is providing up just 2.94 yards per carry after limiting Virginia to simply 21 yards ~ above 22 attempts. Granted, the Cavaliers are not the best running team in the ACC and also Brennan Armstrong was throwing the ball anywhere the lot to the track of 553 yards. Still, the Tar Heels' rush defense appears to have actually taken a vast step forward. When linebacker Jeremiah Gemmel stays the leader of the unit, Kaimon Rucker to explode on the scene v two sacks of Armstrong last week.

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Final Analysis

Georgia Tech has one of the nation's highest-ranked pass defenses. However the Yellow Jackets haven't checked out an aerial strike like phibìc Carolina's this year. The Tar Heels shut under Virginia's running game last week. Yet Gibbs and also Mason are different backs than what UVA possesses. So just how will things play the end in Mercedes-Benz stadium on Saturday night? together encouraging as the Georgia tech performance was against Clemson, we still aren't sure around the Tigers. It likewise appears that Carolina has found a valuation on offense and Tech won't have the ability to score enough points to save up. The Tar Heels will cruise come a reasonably easy victory and also move to 2-1 in the ACC.

Prediction: phibìc Carolina 38, Georgia technology 17

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— created by Jon Kinne, who has been part of the Athlon Contributor Network for three years, extending the ACC and also Notre Dame. Monitor him on Twitter