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Off the cuff: Ok, ok, I'll get it out of the way now. I don't like the Navy jerseys. It looked as if UCONN left their uniforms. I understand that Butch Davis doesn't particularly like Carolina Blue and I understand that young kids like new looks these days. Don't care - UNC's color is Carolina Blue and that should be the dominant color used on uniforms. Use Carolina Blue and White as the dominant colors or get the school colors changed.

It was strange to see Cam Sexton take a knee and lose five yards on a third down. Sexton evidently erroneously thought that the Yellow Jackets were offsides and that he could make the play dead by taking a knee, and that the Heels would have an automatic first down. As it turned out, the officials did not call offsides. Even if they had, Sexton and the Heels would have had a free play. Even pro QBs do the same thing - the Redskins' Jason Campbell made the same mistake this year.

The direct snap to a runner as QB Sexton walked away from behind center and acted as if he didn't know what play was called was a good idea... but it didn't work and now that play - which was worked on for weeks - has been shown, it won't be used again this season.

The Tar Heels got help from Wake Forest, which beat Virginia. Now if Virginia can beat Virginia Tech and Carolina wins out against Maryland, State and Duke, the Tar Heels will win the Coastal Division and play for the ACC championship. I thought the Heels had a decent chance to go 8-4 this year. At 7-2 and ranked in the top 20, UNC will likely be favored in all three remaining games. 10-2 sounds really good, doesn't it? Just try not to look back at the Virginia Tech and Virginia losses - two games the Heels should have won. The what-ifs are unreal. But try not to look too far ahead either - the Heels certainly can't overlook Maryland.

Butch Davis for president - oh, yeah, unfortunately that's already O-ver. Butch Davis for coach of the year then.

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Tar Heels 28, Yellow Jackets 7
UNC keeps GT backed up; ties for first

North Carolina won the field position battle, mainly through special teams play, and defeated Georgia Tech for only the second time in 11 tries. This victory was a big one as the Tar Heels dropped the Jackets out of first and tied for first place in the division themselves. (11/8)

The Tar Heels punter Terrence Brown kept Georgia Tech backed up with a punt average of more than 45 yards and the kicking team didn't allow long run backs. In addition, the Heels' punt return special team got one fumble and the defense got one more to give UNC good field position.

With a long field, Georgia Tech missed long field goal attempts and twice failed on fourth down. "those two fourth-down stops were huge," Coach Butch Davis said. "They were like turnovers."

The Tar Heels got three "real" turnovers and did not turn the ball over themselves. UNC leads the ACC in turnover deferential and lead the league in scores after turnovers.

While UNC had a shorter field most of the day, it was a long opening drive that provided an early cushion. Carolina went 67 yards on nine plays and ended with a nine-yard pass play from Cam Sexton to Zack Pianalto, who was injured on the play and did not return. Pianalto had been out for several games with an ankle injury.

The 7-0 lead held throughout the first half. Georgia Tech, starting deep in its own territory, racked up the yards in the second quarter but the defense stiffened and forced failed long field goal attempts.

The score remained unchanged until minutes after UNC's Matt Merletti recovered a Roddy Jones muffed punt return at the Tech 30 yard line late in the third quarter. Early in the fourth quarter, Shaun Draughn, who finished with 90 yards rushing, busted up the middle for eight yards to put the Heels at the 2 yard line. Bruising back Ryan Houston muscled it in from there to give the Heels a 14-0 lead with 13:57 to play.

On Georgia Tech's next drive, UNC's Robert Quinn stripped the ball from GT's Jaybo Shaw and Mark Paschal, who led the Heels' defense with 10 tackles, fell on it. Houston went back to work, running on five straight plays with the final one being an off-tackle play where he blasted defender Morgan Burnett and went in from three yards out to make it 21-0 with 10:49 to go.

Georgia Tech's running back Jonathan Dwyer finally got loose and zipped off the left side for an 85-yard touchdown run to make it 21-7 with six minutes to go. That score kept Tech's streak of 141 games without being shut out in tact. It also gave the statistical advantage for the game to the Yellow Jackets. But, again, GT had further to go because of field position.

UNC came right back and Sexton found an open Hakeem Nicks in the end zone for a 31-yard score on fourth and short with four minute to go.

T.J. Yates, who broke an ankle early in the season, got some action at quarterback, including a 22-yard pass to Nicks who set the school's career receiving yardage record on the play, surpassing Corey Holliday with 2,472 yards.

Carolina had an extra week to prepare for the Yellow Jackets but now the 7-2 (3-2) Heels finish up with consecutive games against Maryland, N.C. State and Duke. Not only are the Tar Heels playing for a good bowl game, they are playing for a division title and potentially an ACC championship game.

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Season Preview: Carolina almost surely will improve
Look for Heels to have a winning record in Davis' 2nd year


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