RALEIGH, N.C. - Reggie Ball threw four touchdown passes - two to Calvin Johnson - and No. 20 Georgia Tech denied North Carolina State its third win of the season against a ranked team by beating the Wolfpack 31-23 on Saturday night.
Tashard Choice had a career-high 164 yards rushing on 34 carries, Ball was 13-of-35 passing for 215 yards with two interceptions and Johnson had nine catches for a personal-best 168 yards to help the Yellow Jackets (7-2, 5-1 Atlantic Coast Conference) remain on track to win the league's Coastal Division.
Ball had scoring passes covering 25 and 43 yards to Johnson, the league's leading receiver, and added touchdowns covering 25 and 7 yards to James Johnson.
North Carolina State (3-6, 2-4) briefly led 23-21 on John Deraney's third field goal of the game, a 32-yarder on the final play of the third quarter.
Behind Ball and Choice, the Yellow Jackets deliberately moved downfield. Their 16-play, 63-yard drive stalled at the Wolfpack 9, and Travis Bell kicked a 26-yard field goal with 9:09 remaining to put Georgia Tech ahead to stay.
The Yellow Jackets then forced a three-and-out, got the ball back and went 65 yards in nine plays, a drive capped by Ball's 7-yard scoring pass to James Johnson with 2:24 left which all but sealed it.
Daniel Evans was 21-of-53 for 270 yards for N.C. State, which has lost four straight since consecutive home upsets of nationally ranked foes. Georgia Tech avoided joining Boston College and Florida State as ranked teams to lose under the lights at Carter-Finley Stadium.
Ball scrambled for 28 yards midway through the quarter to set up his first touchdown pass to Calvin Johnson, which gave the Yellow Jackets a 7-0 lead. Then, later in the quarter, Ball found Calvin Johnson behind the N.C. State secondary for his second score. It was the receiver's school-record and ACC-leading 11th touchdown reception of the season.
Deraney also had field goals covering 34 and 25 yards for the Wolfpack, who scored on a pair of returns.
Pat Lowery intercepted a Ball pass and returned it 28 yards for a second-quarter touchdown, and Darrell Blackman returned the opening kickoff of the second half 95 yards for a TD.
Georgia Tech kept N.C. State's run game in check, allowing 58 yards rushing on 21 carries.