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Georgia Tech 42, North Carolina 28

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CHAPEL HILL (AP) — Georgia Tech's 14-point second half lead was gone. North Carolina had momentum and the cheers of 51,000 fans at Kenan Stadium on its side.

But the Yellow Jackets, with tailback Joe Burns, didn't panic. Burns capped fourth-quarter drives of 68 and 62 yards with touchdown runs to give the Yellow Jackets a 42-28 victory Saturday afternoon.

Burns rushed for 123 yards and three touchdowns while also scoring on an 11-yard pass from quarterback George Godsey. Burns' big day helped keep Georgia Tech (3-2, 1-2 Atlantic Coast Conference) from digging itself an 0-3 grave in league play.

``Joe just did what he does,'' Yellow Jackets head coach George O'Leary said. ''... He's a steady, steady college football player.''

Burns' biggest plays came after the Tar Heels (3-2, 1-2) had fought back from a 28-14 deficit to tie the game on a 78-yard scoring pass from quarterback Ronald Curry to wideout Kory Bailey and a 46-yard Curry run.

On Georgia Tech's next drive, Burns rushed nine times for 23 yards and scored the go-ahead touchdown on a 1-yard run on fourth down with 4:02 to play.

``We worked for it,'' Burns said. ``We just came together and handled adversity pretty well. We were just determined at that point that we were going to go down the field and score. We were just going to pound them and tough it out and see who had the biggest heart.''

Burns made a strong case. After the Jackets' defense held and got the ball back for the offense, Burns broke free for a 51-yard run on a key third down to give the Yellow Jackets a first-and-goal from the 2-yard line. Burns scored on the next play to give Georgia Tech its winning margin.

The Tar Heels seemed to have momentum from last week's close win against Marshall, but couldn't take control of the round the left end of the UNC line and tackled Tar Heel punter Blake Ferguson after Ferguson had fumbled the snap. Three plays later, Burns scored on an 11-yard pass from Godsey to give Tech a 21-14 edge.

The Yellow Jackets scored again on UNC's next punt attempt. Safety Chris Young came through the line and blocked Ferguson's punt. Tony Hollings recovered the ball in the end zone for a 28-14 lead with 7:34 remaining in the quarter.

``The kicking game really helped us out today,'' O'Leary said. ``That was 14 points right there. That was the difference.''

North Carolina's offense opened the game in the same confident manner with which it closed out Marshall last week. The Tar Heels marched 82 yards on seven plays, ending with a 7-yard touchdown pass from Curry to Sam Aiken.

After Curry's first interception, Georgia Tech marched 75 yards and scored on a 16-yard touchdown pass from Godsey to Kelly Campbell to tie the score at 7-7.

The teams traded touchdowns on their next possessions. The Tar Heels scored with an 86-yard scoring drive, ending with a 59-yard touchdown pass from Curry to tight end Alge Crumpler for a 14-7 lead.

The Yellow Jackets tied the score with 41 seconds remaining before halftime on a 1-yard run from Burns. Copyright 2000 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.