Rapid reaction: Notre Dame 28, North Carolina 26
Kit Loughran | Saturday, October 11, 2014
The first half was a wild ride for Notre Dame, although the Irish lead North Carolina, 28-26.
The game opened on a Golson fumble. Tar Heels junior safety Sam Smiley recovered the ball for a first down at the 28-yard line. On the third play of the drive, Tar Heels freshman running back Elijah Hood ran six yards for a rushing touchdown, putting North Carolina up 7-0 less than two minutes into the first quarter.
The Tar Heels failed to capitalize on their second drive of the quarter as they missed a 15-yard field goal left of the post. Immediately following the missed field goal, junior linebacker Jeff Schoettmer intercepted Golson’s pass intended for senior tight end Ben Koyack and ran it back for a touchdown.
With a fumble and interception in the first seven minutes, the Irish began to move the ball on their third drive. Golson completed a pass to sophomore running back Tarean Folston for 37 yards. Golson ran the ball for a rushing first down and gain of 15 yards and followed that with a pass to sophomore wide receiver William Fuller for a gain of 23.
Golson then found Fuller in the end zone for an Irish touchdown. The 13-yard completion marked Fuller’s sixth touchdown of the season and the seventh of his career.
Notre Dame propelled its next drive once again with the Golson-Fuller combo. Golson completed a pass to Fuller for 11 yards and a first down as the first quarter came to a close.
Senior running back Cam McDaniel then scored on a one-yard carry during the first few seconds of the second quarter. The Irish shut down North Carolina’s offense and completed another scoring drive of their own with a seven-yard rush touchdown by sophomore running back Bryant to go up 21-14. After the Tar Heels’ two early touchdowns, Notre Dame scored 21 unanswered points and gained 283 yards compared to North Carolina’s 15.
Towards the end of the first quarter, Notre Dame pressured the Tar Heel offense and held it at the one-yard line, but Tar Heels quarterback Marquise Williams eventually scrambled into the end zone with four minutes to go. Junior defensive line Jarron Jones blocked the extra point to hold the Tar Heels to 20 points.
With three minutes left in the half, running back Elijah Hood fumbled and Irish junior safety Elijah Shumate recovered the ball. Sophomore running back Tarean Folston followed with a six-yard rushing touchdown. North Carolina responded with a strong drive of 75 yards that ended in a 20-yard touchdown from Williams to junior wide receiver Quinshad Davis. Notre Dame stopped North Carolina’s two-point extra point attempt to hold the score 28-26.