No. 19 Georgia Tech Blanks North Carolina to Clinch Spot in Dr. Pepper ACC Championship
Nov. 11, 2006
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) - Tashard Choice ran for 119 yards and a touchdown to help No. 19 Georgia Tech beat North Carolina 7-0 on Saturday, clinching a spot in the Dr. Pepper ACC Championship.
Choice had 32 carries and also had 32 yards receiving on a sluggish offensive day for the Yellow Jackets (8-2, 6-1 ACC), who have won three straight to wrap up the Coastal Division title. Georgia Tech will face the Atlantic Division winner in the league's second title game in Jacksonville, Fla., on Dec. 2.
This should have been an easy win for the Yellow Jackets against a reeling program that has already announced coach John Bunting will not return next season. But the Tar Heels (1-9, 0-6) fought the entire way, making Georgia Tech work for just about everything.
Ultimately, Choice's 3-yard touchdown run early in the second quarter to cap a 20-play, 83-yard drive - which spanned 10 1/2 minutes - proved to be enough. The drive was the longest this season in the ACC in terms of number of plays and time.
The Yellow Jackets finished with 221 yards - the fewest allowed by North Carolina's porous defense all year - but converted 9 of 19 third-down opportunities to extend drives when they needed to most. That came in spite of a 10-for-24, 78-yard passing performance from Reggie Ball, who connected just three times for 13 yards with big-play wideout Calvin Johnson.
The Tar Heels couldn't take advantage of their defense's unusually solid performance. Joe Dailey, who came in with seven interceptions in seven games, threw a two in the end zone on consecutive drives late in the first half on what proved to be the Tar Heels' best scoring chances.
The Tar Heels had one last chance to tie the game, getting the ball back at their 18 in the final minute. But Dailey's fourth-down deep ball down the sideline for Hakeem Nicks sailed out of bounds, sealing it with 20 seconds left.
North Carolina finished with 211 yards. The Tar Heels have lost seven straight games since beating Division I-AA Furman on Sept. 16, and the loss marked the first time they have been shut out twice in one season since 1989.