ATLANTA (AP) – Georgia Tech played keep-away against North Carolina, dominating the clock with its ball-control offense, and KirVonte Benson scored on a 63-yard run as the Yellow Jackets beat the Tar Heels 33-7 on Saturday.
Georgia Tech (3-1, 2-0 Atlantic Coast Conference) had scoring drives of 18 and 17 plays in the first half to wear down short-handed North Carolina (1-4, 0-3).
TaQuon Marshall ran for 137 yards, including a 5-yard touchdown run, and threw a 12-yard scoring pass to Ricky Jeune. Benson added 130 yards rushing.
Georgia Tech ran 65 plays, compared to 58 for North Carolina, and held the ball for more than 38 minutes.
The Tar Heels have lost 13 players, including top wide receiver Austin Proehl, to season-ending injuries.
North Carolina avoided being shut out when Jordon Brown scored on an 8-yard run with 5:05 remaining. The touchdown was set up by Chazz Surratt’s 34-yard pass to Jordan Cunningham.
It was a dramatic departure from recent shootouts in the series. North Carolina averaged 44.7 points in winning the last three games against Georgia Tech.
The Yellow Jackets held the ball for 18 plays and 8 minutes, 54 seconds on a 90-yard touchdown drive capped by Marshall’s 5-yard run in the first quarter.
It was Georgia Tech’s longest touchdown drive since 2012. The Yellow Jackets then added a 17-play, 74-yard drive in the second quarter that ended with a 21-yard field goal by Shawn Davis.
It marked the first time in Paul Johnson’s 10 seasons as Georgia Tech’s coach the Yellow Jackets had two scoring drives of at least 17 plays in a game.
Georgia Tech, which lost four fumbles in last week’s 35-17 win over Pittsburgh, had two more lost fumbles by Marshall and Benson. One play after Marshall’s fumble, A.J. Gray had the first of his two interceptions to give possession back to the Yellow Jackets. Benson then broke free for his 63-yard touchdown run.
Benson fumbled at the goal line late in the third quarter.
North Carolina’s Freeman Jones was wide left on a 40-yard field goal in the second quarter and again was left on a 52-yard attempt to end the half. Entering the game, Jones had made three of four field goal attempts, but none longer than 39 yards. He has missed each of his three attempts this season from 40 yards or longer.
Georgia Tech backup quarterback Matthew Jordan had a 5-yard scoring run with less than 2 minutes remaining.
North Carolina: The Tar Heels offense, so high-powered in wins over Georgia Tech the last three years, showed the effects of the latest string of season-ending injuries. In addition to Proehl, defensive tackle Tyler Powell, tight end Carl Tucker and receiver Rontavius Groves were declared out for the season this week.
Georgia Tech: The productive spread-option attack and its emphasis on the run grabs the headlines but the Yellow Jackets are also winning with defense this season. Even though the Tar Heels have lost some key playmakers, it was a strong showing by the defense, which was led by Gray’s two interceptions. Defense could be the difference in Georgia Tech’s hopes in the ACC Coastal Division.
North Carolina: The Tar Heels on Saturday will make their first visit to No. 22 Notre Dame since taking a 29-24 win in 2008.
Georgia Tech: The Yellow Jackets will be off on Saturday before playing at No. 14 Miami on Oct. 14.