The Notre Dame football team took on North Carolina in Week 4, and here are our Studs and Duds from the 45-32 victory.
77 points were scored in the Week 4 matchup between Notre Dame football and the UNC Tar Heels, and this game had a lot to offer on both sides of the ball, whether it was Notre Dame’s rush offense or North Carolina’s prolific deep ball ability with QB Drake Maye. When the dust settled, some players showcased the best of what they can bring to the table, while others left much to be desired.
These are my week four Studs and Duds, for both teams.
The Studs – Notre Dame football
QB Drew Pyne (24/34, 289 yds, 3 TDs)
If there was any doubt of Drew Pyne’s ability to lead to Irish to success after barely squeaking by Cal last week, he erased it with a dominant performance on the road against UNC on Saturday in only his second career start and first career road game.
The biggest step for Pyne this week was that he proved he is more than a game manager, several times extending plays with his legs and showcasing an ability to make difficult throws downfield, none better than his 30-yard TD throw to Lorenzo Styles in the second quarter.
The Running Backs (42 carries, 264 yards, 3 TDs)
Finally, some classic old-school Notre Dame football. Against the Tar Heel defense, the Irish took up a ground-and-pound mindset with the lead in the second half, and even when UNC knew the run was coming, they still couldn’t stop it.
The Irish dominated the line of scrimmage, and the three-headed monster Logan Diggs, Chris Tyree, and Audric Estime took full advantage. Hats off to Estime as well; he finished with 134 yards and 2 scores on 7.9 yards per carry.
DL Rylie Mills (5 tackles, 2 sacks, 2.5 tackles for loss)
Mills was a popular pick to be a potential breakout player in 2022, and he finally showed everyone why that is with a dominant performance against North Carolina. The junior turned in two sacks of UNC QB Drake Maye and several tackles for loss that helped stymie the Heels’ potent offense.
The Duds – Notre Dame football
CB Cam Hart
Hart is my only dud in what was otherwise a great all-around day for the Irish. Hart had big-time expectations so far this season but has been outworked by Tariq Bracy and at times by freshmen Ben Morrison and Jaden Mickey. The play that earned him ‘dud’ status for Week 4 was a 4th and 21 at the end of the 4th quarter that saw Hart give up a 64-yard touchdown.
No defense should ever give up a 4th and 21, but Hart blew his coverage so poorly that UNC wideout Antione Green waltzed into the end zone with ease. The secondary, especially Cam Hart, has some work to do during the bye week.
The Studs – North Carolina
QB Drake Maye (17/32, 301 yds, 5 TDs)
Drake Maye is 19 years old. That being said, he is going to be great for a long time and not just on Saturdays. Maye simply is the Carolina offense. They struggled to run versus ND, but it didn’t matter. Maye showcased a generational arm and a gorgeous deep ball, connecting on 80-yard and 64-yard TDs against the Irish.
So far this season Maye has thrown for 1,231 yards, 16 touchdowns, and just one interception. Looking to the future, I think Maye has a legitimate Heisman pedigree, I think we might see him in New York for the Heisman ceremony as soon as next season.
WR Antoine Green (3 catches, 150 yds, 2 TDs)
Antione Green finished this game with a ridiculous 50.0 yard per reception average and was the recipient of both Drake Maye rainbow touchdown bombs. He took advantage of a struggling ND secondary and turned in an incredible performance on only 3 catches.
The Duds – North Carolina
The Entire Defense
The Tar Heel defense gave up 576 yards to a Notre Dame team who had not topped 351 yards yet on the season, and who was averaging just 18 points per game coming into the contest.
North Carolina is lucky they have such a prolific offense because the defensive side of the ball is the Bruce Banner to their Hulk. That is to say, the Tar Heel defense is incredibly weak in all phases, whether it is against the run, pass, or play action they have no answers.
Four games into 2022 and the UNC defense is giving up 39.5 points per game to go along with 495.3 yards in each contest. On Saturday we saw fights between members of the Tar Heel defense off the field and unsportsmanlike conduct penalties like late hits on the field.
There is no short road back from struggles like this, but changes must be made as soon as possible because if the offense is hobbled this season, things will go wrong quickly based on what the defense has shown this season.
Notre Dame football has many positives to take away from week 4 going into their bye week and will have extended time to deal with issues in the secondary. The offensive numbers are definitely a tad inflated due to North Carolina’s struggles on that side of the ball, but Drew Pyne has things rolling much more smoothly now than they were through the first 3 weeks.
The Notre Dame football team took on UNC in Week 4 on the road, and here is what surprised us in the 45-32 victory on the road.
Notre Dame football would do well to bottle up the offensive lighting from this game, it will serve them well through the remainder of the year.