Notre Dame’s Defensive Grades vs. North Carolina


Oct 11, 2014; South Bend, IN, USA; Notre Dame Fighting Irish cornerback Cole Luke (36) celebrates after an interception in the fourth quarter against the North Carolina Tar Heels at Notre Dame Stadium. Notre Dame won 50-43. Mandatory Credit: Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

Okay, there’s not much I can say when you give up over 500 yards of offense and 43 points in a game. So I am going to jump right into the grades. I do want to say one thing first: hey offense, stop handing the other team points with your turnovers. When you turn the ball over before you pass your own 25-yardline, you are going to have a bad time.

Defensive Line – D

After effectively stomping the run against Stanford, the Irish D gave up huge chunks of yardage against UNC. Add to the fact that it looked like Notre Dame’s defense had never had a tackling drill, and that’s a recipe for disaster. UNC quarterback Marquise Williams ran for 139 yards and averaged 7.3 yards per carry. Williams also had an eternity of time in the pocket seeing that the Irish pass rush was non-effective. Sheldon Day did have a little success against the UNC offensive line, but he did drop a sure interception that could have led to points in the first quarter.

Linebackers – C-

Jaylon Smith should us he was human Saturday afternoon with many missed tackles on Tar Heel ball carriers. Williams did drop a touchdown on him in the second quarter, but not many football players could have prevented that pass. Maybe it was the up-tempo offense or an emotional let down from the week before, but I am going to chalk Smith’s play up as one time deal. Expect him to be ready against Florida State this Saturday. Joe Schmidt had another solid game with his big forced fumble in the second. Shumate scooped up the fumble and it looked like he was heading to the end zone before he stumbled on his own two feet. Schdmidt had another huge play that saved a first down in the second quarter. Onwualu had a terrible pass interference call in the end zone that kept the drive alive for UNC.

Secondary – D

I don’t like to make excuses for players, but a lot of UNC’s success through the air was because of Notre Dame’s inability to sub on third down. With that being said, the secondary needs communicate better if they don’t want Jamesis Winston to have a field day with them on Saturday. Like I stated earlier, Shumate should have found the end zone on his fumble recovery. But just like the linebackers, Shumate and the rest of the secondary forgot how to tackle Saturday. One bright spot is Cole Luke. Luke had another interception that was the momentum boost the Irish needed for the win. Also, Max Redfield is living up to his 5-star billing out of high school. He looks natural at the free safety position and he covered a massive amount of area on UNC’s first trick play. Speaking of trick plays; Devin Butler and the whole defense should be ashamed of themselves for allowing this play to work. How many times have we seen this play fail horribly?

I don’t know much, but I do know that Notre Dame survived to play another game undefeated. So hopefully by this time next week, I’ll be talking about how Notre Dame’s defense did a 180 and the Irish are still undefeated.