Notre Dame football vs. North Carolina review: 3 Studs, 3 Duds in Week 9
Notre Dame secondary
The Fighting Irish secondary failed to limit big plays against North Carolina. The Tar Heels collected 341 yards through the air with big gains of 41 and 33. The Irish failed to find the combination that would stop receiver Josh Downs who collected 142 yards on 10 receptions.
D.J. Brown intercepted the Sam Howell in the fourth quarter to help swing the momentum permanently in Notre Dame’s favor.
It is difficult to fault Marcus Freeman for not producing a better defense on Saturday. He called a game without all-American free safety Kyle Hamilton. However, Notre Dame’s defense was not good at stopping anything.
They yielded 223 rushing yards and 341 passing yards.
Most importantly, the defense gave up 34 points. Former Notre Dame defensive coordinator Clark Lea excelled at forcing teams to play left-handed. In comparison, in 2019, the Tar Heels tallied 87 yards on the ground and 211 yards through the air. The Irish slowed the rushing attack – making North Carolina one-dimensional.
North Carolina played with ease and balance on Saturday.
On paper, it looks like the Notre Dame football team perfectly executed in the red zone. The Fighting Irish scored on each of their five trips deep into North Carolina territory.
The Notre Dame football team won their seventh game of the season on Saturday night, and here are three things we learned in the win over UNC.
However, only two of five out of those trips led to touchdowns. If Notre Dame wants to win out, especially against pass-happy Virginia, they will need to perform better in red zone. Another touchdown or two delivers a knockout punch of the Tar Heels earlier.