Predictions: North Carolina vs. Notre Dame
Observer Sports Staff | Friday, October 10, 2014
Senior Sports Writer
It’s easy to look at the North Carolina defense and think blowout. The Tar Heels have surrendered some gaudy point totals in recent weeks. But, Notre Dame will have to run the ball better and net touchdowns in the red zone to match those prolific totals.
And while Notre Dame’s defense has been downright dominant, North Carolina’s offense is fast and talented — 35 points against Clemson is a solid showing. Ryan Switzer, Quinshad Davis, T.J. Logan and one-time Irish commitment Elijah Hood should make enough plays to keep it interesting.
Blowout? Not entirely.
Close? Not entirely.
The Irish should still take care of business and roll into Tallahassee at 6-0.
FINAL SCORE : Notre Dame 41, North Carolina 21
As Notre Dame showed last weekend, its defense is elite and its offense, while it has flaws, can move the ball against tough competition.
That bodes well for Saturday’s matchup against North Carolina. The Tar Heels are averaging 36 points per game, but their total offense ranks a few spots behind Notre Dame’s. And their defense? Forget about it — it’s one of the worst in the FBS.
This should lead to a blowout, but I think it will be closer. There have been too many recent instances — Pitt 2011, BYU and Pitt 2012 — where Notre Dame followed a major win with a lackluster performance.
This game will start that way, but the Irish should take over in the second half, as Everett Golson and company return to early-season form.
FINAL SCORE : Notre Dame 42, North Carolina 20
Assistant Managing Editor
North Carolina’s defense has … stumbled. The Tar Heels have twice given up 50 points or more. One was a 50-35 loss to Clemson, and the other was a 70-41 loss to East Carolina. The North Carolina defense is ranked 124th (of 128 teams) in the FBS in scoring defense.
The Irish will need to stay focused and not let this become a trap game the week before a monster matchup with No. 1 Florida State. But East Carolina put up 70 points without an Everett Golson-caliber quarterback. The Irish offense shouldn’t have a problem beating North Carolina’s porous defense unless the lack of focus is extraordinarily and embarrassingly severe. The Tar Heels have scored more than 30 points in all but one game, but Notre Dame’s defense proved its stoutness against a tough Stanford team last week.
This one will be a blowout.
FINAL SCORE : Notre Dame 52, North Carolina 14
Assistant Managing Editor
North Carolina has given up 154 points in the past three games; all were losses. Even in the two Tar Heel wins, they still gave up 56 points combined to Liberty and San Diego State.
Notre Dame’s offense has proven to be efficient and effective, even against Stanford’s top-ranked defense.
The Irish must take care of the ball and not give the Tar Heels any hope of an upset, as turnovers were almost the end of Notre Dame’s undefeated run.
The Irish defense gave up 14 to the Cardinal but will not give up as much to the Tar Heels, as long as it does not become complacent.
Notre Dame students will get tired of doing pushups at this game.
FINAL SCORE : Notre Dame 52, North Carolina 3
After weeks of discussion about how no one really knew how good they were, the Irish were finally tested last week, and they came out on top.
Compared to its matchup against Stanford, Notre Dame should have no problem putting away North Carolina, which has given up an average of 42.0 points per game. The Tar Heels surrendered 70 points to East Carolina — a member of the less-than-formidable American Athletic Conference.
Marquise Williams leads a decent Heels passing attack, but Notre Dame has shut down teams quarterbacked by other dynamic players — think Michigan and Syracuse.
Just like with the first five teams that have faced Irish, North Carolina and its 117th-ranked defense will have too much difficulty containing Everett Golson to pose a serious threat to Notre Dame’s perfect season.
FINAL SCORE : Notre Dame 38, North Carolina 6