Notebook from Doug Roberson
1. Coach Paul Johnson said he almost kissed Chris Tanner after he kicked a 34-yard field goal in the fourth quarter of Tech’s 68-50 win at North Carolina.
Before hitting two Saturday, Tanner hadn’t kicked a field goal since he was at Norcross High School in 2007 and hadn’t kicked an extra point since 2009. Tanner, a senior, found out earlier this week that he was going to handle the kicks.
“The past couple of days I’ve just been like, ‘I can do this,’” he said.
Tanner said he was helped by the fact he was kicking from the middle of the field, and that the snap and hold were perfect.
Tanner made a 35-yard field goal in the third quarter. He was perfect on all eight extra-point attempts. It was the first time Tech hadn’t missed a kick in a game since the loss to Middle Tennessee. Tech was 5-of-11 on field-goal attempts and 39-of-42 on extra-point attempts before Saturday.
2. Robbie Godhigh may have been the shortest player on the field, but he outjumped two defenders to pull down a 32-yard touchdown pass from Vad Lee in the decisive third quarter.
It was one of three touchdowns Godhigh scored in the period. Before the catch, the 5-foot-7 A-back scored on runs of 4 and 32 yards. He rushed for 41 yards on five carries.
On the touchdown catch, Godhigh said he beat his man at the line. When he saw the pass coming to him, he decided he was going to make a play. Godhigh estimated he has a vertical leap of 32 inches.
“He made some plays; he’s done that all year for us,” Johnson said.
3. Jamal Golden returned a kickoff 100 yards for a touchdown on the first play of the second half to give Tech a 34-29 lead. It was part of a school-record 231 yards on seven kickoff returns for Golden.
It was Golden’s second return for a touchdown this season, tying the school’s single-season record set by Drew Hill in 1978. It also tied the school’s career record, held by three other players. Golden returned one 97 yards for a touchdown against BYU earlier this season.
Golden said all of his returns went to the right in the first half Saturday. Tech’s coaches noticed that the Tar Heels were starting to overpursue on the play, so they called the first one of the second half to go left. He caught the ball, made the first tackler miss and turned up field.
“I had a block and Synjyn Days led me down the field for a touchdown,” he said.
The previous record for return yards in a game was set by T.J. Edwards with 184 on six returns against Duke in 1989.
4. Linebacker Brandon Watts made one of the critical stops in the game when he tackled punter Tommy Hibbard 8 yards short of a first down on a fourth-and-10 at North Carolina’s 25 in the third quarter.
Godhigh rushed for a 27-yard touchdown on the next play to give Tech a 51-36 lead with 6:21 left in the third quarter.
Watts said he was supposed to be blocking for the return when he saw the punter was running too fast to kick the ball. Watts left his man, avoided a block and brought down Hibbard.
“We needed that, and the offense put points on the board,” Watts said.
A few more records were set during the game: