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Predictions: Notre Dame vs. North Carolina

| Friday, October 6, 2017

Irish junior quarterback Brandon Wimbush fires a pass under pressure during Notre Dame's 52-17 win over Miami (OH) on Saturday at Notre Dame Stadium.Emma Farnan | The Observer
Irish junior quarterback Brandon Wimbush fires a pass under pressure during Notre Dame’s 52-17 win over Miami (OH) on Saturday at Notre Dame Stadium.

Ben Padanilam — Editor-in-Chief

The storylines in Saturday’s game are obvious: Notre Dame might end up starting Ian Book at quarterback while Brandon Wimbush nurses an injury, and North Carolina has enough wounded soldiers this season to make you think its fought a war rather than played five games.

And the simple fact of the matter is that whether its a limited Wimbush or Book at quarterback, this decimated North Carolina team won’t be able to beat the Irish.

This injury-laden Tar Heels defense is below the top-100 in points allowed per game on the season. Their offense has already had to turn to a redshirt-freshman quarterback (Chazz Surratt) due to the poor play of its graduate transfer (Brandon Harris) at the position.

Notre Dame might not dominate North Carolina on Saturday because of its own injuries. But the fact is, it won’t have to in order to win comfortably.

FINAL SCORE: Notre Dame 38, North Carolina 13

Marek Mazurek — Assistant Managing Editor

A lot is uncertain with Notre Dame’s offense as starting quarterback Brandon Wimbush may sit out Saturday with a sprained right foot. The Irish running backs too, have a few bumps and bruises that may hurt their effectiveness.

What is certain though, is that North Carolina’s defense is bad. Like in the bottom-10 in the country in every major statistical category bad. Even if Wimbush can’t go, sophomore Ian Book and a strong Irish running game, should be able to do just fine against the Tar Heels.

FINAL SCORE: Notre Dame 35, North Carolina 24

Elizabeth Greason — Sports Editor

It doesn’t matter who will be under center for Notre Dame on Saturday. Whether it is Ian Book or a slightly injured Brandon Wimbush, the Irish are still a better team than the Tar Heels.

Despite the fact that the Notre Dame running backs will, more than likely, be playing at slightly less than 100 percent, all four will be available and healthy enough to take advantage of the struggling North Carolina defense. With more receivers getting involved in the game last week, the passing game might be ready to finally click for the Irish. And the defense has yet to give up more than 20 points, and this will not be the week that that changes.

Between North Carolina’s injuries and weaknesses all over the field, this game will be blowout No. 4 for the Irish.

FINAL SCORE: Notre Dame 45, North Carolina 16

Tobias Hoonhout — Associate Sports Editor

Despite question marks surrounding the health of Notre Dame’s offense, particularly quarterback Brandon Wimbush, the Irish face North Carolina at perhaps the perfect time.

Circled as a potential danger game before the season started, the Tar Heels have had a host of injuries and bad luck this season, and now sit 1-4 with no change on the horizon.
The Irish have beaten every opponent they’ve faced this season by at least two touchdowns, and there’s no reason why they can’t do that on Saturday. UNC’s defense is downright atrocious, and even if Wimbush doesn’t play, Notre Dame is clicking on all the right cylinders right now.
FINAL SCORE: Notre Dame 48, North Carolina 17
Daniel O’Boyle — Sports Writer

Certainly, no team would want to prepare for a game with the health of its starting quarterback in doubt, as the Irish have done because of an injury to Brandon Wimbush’s right foot.

But spare a thought for the Tar Heels, who have the worst injury crisis in the country, with 13 players out and a further eight questionable for this week.

North Carolina was set to lack experience this year even before those injuries, and with them the team has struggled to a 1-3 start, beating only Old Dominion. They’ve given up 33 points and 466 yards per game in those contests.

The Irish can’t call on Wimbush’s injury as an excuse. Notre Dame’s running backs and offensive line should be able to do enough to beat the Tar Heels with any quarterback on the roster starting.

FINAL SCORE: Notre Dame 38, North Carolina 14

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