Freshman quarterback Sam Howell threw for a personal-best 376 yards and four touchdowns to help North Carolina snap a three-game losing streak with a 38-22 win over Georgia Tech in Atlanta on Saturday.
Howell completed 33 of 51 passes with one interception to account for much of the team’s 587 total yards.
The Tar Heels (3-3, 2-1 ACC) showed no letdown after last week’s near-miss loss against No. 1-ranked Clemson. Running back Javonte Williams added 144 yards on 20 carries with one touchdown. Dazz Newsome caught eight passes for 81 yards.
Georgia Tech (1-4, 0-2) was led by redshirt freshman quarterback James Graham. He completed 11 of 24 passes for 171 yards, with two interceptions and two touchdowns. Graham rushed 13 times for 48 yards. Jordan Mason carried eight times for 62 yards and one touchdown.
North Carolina scored the only points of the first quarter when Noah Ruggles kicked a 32-yard field goal at 5:59.
The Tar Heels made it 10-0 when Howell found Newsome for a 20-yard touchdown pass. The drive began when Don Chapman intercepted Graham at the UNC 32.
North Carolina scored again with 13 seconds left in the half. The key play was a 41-yard completion from Howell to Michael Carter. Howell finished the five-play drive with a 6-yard touchdown pass to Beau Corrales, which gave the Tar Heels a 17-0 halftime lead.
Georgia Tech’s offense scored for the first time in six quarters in the third period. Three plays after Mason broke a 43-yard run — the team’s longest of the season — Graham connected with Malachi Carter for a 28-yard touchdown, cutting the lead to 17-7 with 7:29 left in the third quarter.
The Tar Heels eventually answered with an 18-yard touchdown pass from Howell to Dyami Brown to complete a 14-play drive in which they converted three consecutive times on third or fourth down.
Mason ran for a 2-yard touchdown with 12:25 left and completed a two-point conversion pass to cut the lead to 24-15.
North Carolina pulled away with two more touchdowns, a 16-yard pass from Howell to tight end Garret Walston and a 3-yard run by Williams.
—Field Level Media