Reserve quarterback Jeff Sims ran for three touchdowns and passed for another as Georgia Tech knocked off No. 21 North Carolina 45-22 on Saturday night in Atlanta.
Georgia Tech (2-2, 1-1 Atlantic Coast Conference), which flirted with an upset a week earlier at Clemson, produced its first signature victory under third-year coach Geoff Collins.
Sims gained 128 yards on 10 carries as part of Georgia Tech’s 261-yard rushing attack. He capped it with a 50-yard touchdown run.
North Carolina (2-2, 1-2) has lost both its road games, this time despite Sam Howell’s 306 yards on 25-for-39 passing for two touchdowns. He lost fumbles three times.
Jahmyr Gibbs scored on a 4-yard run with 5:39 to play in the third quarter as Georgia Tech extended its lead to 27-7.
The Tar Heels struck back less than two minutes later on Howell’s 7-yard touchdown pass to Kamari Morales.
On Georgia Tech’s next possession, one play after converting a fourth-and-3 on Sims’ pass to Kyric McGowan, Malachi Carter made an incredible catch on the side of the end zone on a 27-yard pass. The Yellow Jackets tacked on a two-point conversion on a trick play.
Again, North Carolina wasted little time finding the end zone. Howell connected with Josh Downs on a 4-yard scoring play and a two-point conversion.
Georgia Tech then ate up more than seven minutes before Brent Cimaglia’s 31-yard field for a 38-22 lead.
North Carolina began the game much better, scoring first on Howell’s tackle-breaking 23-yard run. That came after Gio Biggers blocked a Georgia Tech punt, so the Tar Heels needed to go only 40 yards.
A pair of Cimaglia field goals in a span of less than a minute got Georgia Tech going. Then the Yellow Jackets went ahead when Sims scored on an 11-yard quarterback keeper.
Those last two scoring possessions of the half came after North Carolina turnovers gave Georgia Tech possession inside the Tar Heels’ 20-yard line.
Howell was sacked five times in the first half.
The game was played at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, home of the NFL’s Atlanta Falcons, rather than at Georgia Tech’s campus stadium.
–Field Level Media