UNC stumbles again, loses at Georgia Tech

UNC wide receiver Tez Walker fumbles as he is hit by Georgia Tech defensive back Ahmari Harvey during the Yellow Jackets’ 46-42 win in Atlanta. (John Bazemore / AP Photo)

ATLANTA — Haynes King threw a 5-yard touchdown pass to Brett Seither with 4:28 remaining and Georgia Tech handed No. 17 UNC its second straight loss, knocking off the Tar Heels in a 46-42 shootout Saturday night.

Overcoming an early two-touchdown blitz by UNC (7-1, 3-2 Atlantic Coast Conference) and a 10-point deficit in the fourth quarter, Georgia Tech shredded the Tar Heels defense for 635 yards.

King was 23 of 30 for 287 yards and four touchdowns, two of them to Seither. Dontae Smith rushed for 178 yards and another score for the Yellow Jackets (4-4, 3-2).

Coming off a shocking 31-27 home loss to a one-win Virginia team, UNC appeared to be in good shape when Drake Maye hooked up with Doc Chapman on a 35-yard touchdown with 11:13 remaining, pushing the Tar Heels ahead 42-32.

But, just two plays later, Dontae Smith broke loose right down the middle of the field for a 70-yard touchdown that suddenly made it a game again.

UNC responded by driving into position for a field goal attempt. Noah Burnette had not missed all season, coming into the night 11 of 11, but he yanked a 39-yarder wide left.

King seized on the opportunity, breaking off another huge run on the very next play. He went 52 yards before the Tar Heels finally got him down, putting Georgia Tech into field goal range just like that.

Smith ripped off runs of 10 and 14 yards, only to be thrown for a 4-yard loss on second-and-goal at the 1. On third down, King rolled to his right, looking desperately for anyone open, before he spotted Seither lingering in the back right corner.

The big tight end leaped for the catch, barely managing to tap his left toe on the turf before he tumbled out of bounds with the winning score.

UNC’s final gasp ended with Maye’s 36-yard pass to Devontez Walker, who was looking to his right when Ahmari Harvey delivered a crunching blindisde hit from the left to knock the ball loose.

K.J. Wallace fell on the fumble for Georgia Tech, which ran out the clock and sent a small but vocal crowd storming the field on homecoming at Bobby Dodd Stadium.

Maye threw for 310 yards and two touchdowns, to go along with a 14-yard scoring run. Omarion Hampton had a big game on the ground, rushing for 153 yards and two touchdowns.

But it wasn’t enough against a Georgia Tech team that broke off one big play after another.

UNC returns home to face FCS opponent Campbell next Saturday.