Follow along live as the North Carolina football team takes on Georgia Tech in an ACC matchup:
ATLANTA — Sam Howell under fire and North Carolina engulfed by trouble.
Consider it a recipe for disaster and déjà vu all over again.
Georgia Tech manhandled the No. 21 Tar Heels 45-22 on Saturday night in Atlantic Coast Conference football at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, another wreck on the road for North Carolina.
Jeff Sims supplied a spark when the Yellow Jackets inserted him at quarterback to replace starter Jordan Yates. Sims accounted for 240 total yards and four touchdowns.
But this became an unwanted sequel to the Tar Heels’ season opener earlier this month at Virginia Tech, when the Hokies swarmed Howell, the North Carolina star quarterback, for six sacks and three interceptions.
Georgia Tech dropped Howell for eight sacks here Saturday night at this gleaming downtown stadium, the home of the NFL’s Atlanta Falcons. He also lost three fumbles.
Howell finished 25 of 39 passing for 306 yards and two touchdowns.
Georgia Tech ran off 27 unanswered points after North Carolina took an early 7-0 lead on Howell’s 23-yard touchdown run.
Not a safe bet
North Carolina arrived as a 13-point favorite on the road and Georgia Tech is making that bet look like a foolish one.
Jahmyr Gibbs scored on a 4-yard touchdown run to put the Yellow Jackets ahead 27-7 in the third quarter. Jeff Sims’s entrance at quarterback has sparked Georgia Tech.
Sam Howell’s 7-yard touchdown pass to tight end Kamari Morales in the back of the end zone has pulled the Tar Heels within 27-14 at the end of the third quarter.
Morales made a 21-yard catch to get Carolina closer on the drive.
Tar Heels in trouble
North Carolina quarterback Sam Howell is under fire and the Tar Heels appear to be in trouble, at least with one half complete Saturday night.
Georgia Tech leads 13-7 at halftime here, with its defense having dropped Howell for five sacks and collected 10 tackles for lost yardage.
Howell’s first two carries of the game went for 39 yards, on runs of 16 and 23 yards. He’s down to just 1 yard rushing on 11 carries.
Sims back in lineup, in end zone
Jeff Sims, Georgia Tech’s opening day starter at quarterback, enters in relief of Jordan Yates and promptly scores on an 11-yard touchdown keeper.
Yellow Jackets take the lead at 13-7 late in the first half.
Tar Heels quarterback Sam Howell has been sacked four times and fumbled twice. Tech’s defense should’ve had a scoop and score on Demetrius Knight’s recovery of Howell’s last fumble, but a turf monster got him. He tripped on his own and went down on what looked to be a sure return for a touchdown.
No matter, Sims got Tech in the end zone moments later.
Howell on the run again
Sam Howell strikes again as a runner.
The quarterback scores on a 23-yard touchdown scamper, and North Carolina capitalizes on Gio Biggers’ blocked punt moments earlier to lead 7-0 in the first five minutes Saturday night at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
Howell, suddenly running wild recently with back-to-back games of more than 100 rushing yards, knifed and spun through at least three tackles to reach the end zone on the read-option keeper.
Georgia Tech defenders Juanyeh Thomas, Wesley Walker and Tobias Oliver all got hands on him, but whiffed on the tackle attempts.
‘This was the week’:What to watch as UNC tries to steer past road trouble at Georgia Tech
Behind enemy lines:UNC scouting report for Georgia Tech matchup with insider perspective
► ‘We gonna run that thing’: UNC back Ty Chandler’s breakout game born from focus on details
► UNC star passer Sam Howell suddenly running wild, joins Lamar Jackson in rare QB club
Dome sweet dome?
North Carolina’s visit here Saturday night marks the first of six home games across six seasons for Georgia Tech at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, the gleaming 71,000-seat venue with a retractable roof. On campus, the Yellow Jackets play at Bobby Dodd Stadium.
Georgia Tech is calling the new series “Mayhem at Mercedes-Benz Stadium,” in reference to coach Geoff Collins’s days as a defensive coordinator at Mississippi State and Florida.
The Yellow Jackets have future matchups scheduled at Mercedes-Benz Stadium against Clemson (Sept. 5, 2022), Louisville (Sept. 2, 2023) and Notre Dame (Oct. 19, 2024). Dates and opponents for the 2025 and 2026 games there remain to be determined.