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Notre Dame Football

ISD Game Predictions: North Carolina

November 26, 2020

It’s that time again!  Game prediction time!  The Irish take their undefeated record to North Carolina on Friday to take on the Tar Heels.  The Irish are missing some key personnel for this game, and North Carolina is on fire as an offense.  Which team comes out on top on Friday?  

Mike Frank

Yes, I’m scared of this game like anyone else.  If ND were healthy, I wouldn’t have much concern, but we know the Irish offense is going to have to score some points to win on Friday as Carolina certainly will score and could score often.

The real matchup in this game is Notre Dame’s front seven versus North Carolina’s offensive line.  If the Irish can slow down the Tar Heel running game, and make North Carolina kick field goals instead of score touchdowns, they’ll win the game.  

I think ND gets enough stops to win, but it should be an exciting game.

Notre Dame 38, North Carolina 30

Matt Freeman

Friday will be an interesting game with the usual ups and downs of playing one of the nation's finest offenses. 

I do think Notre Dame will likely give up more than 30 again, which is not normal for Clark Lea, but that's just how explosive the Tar Heels have been in 2020.

The good news for Notre Dame is they will win in the trenches, allowing them to take over the game. Sure, there will probably be mistakes with two new starters on the Irish's offensive line, but Josh Lugg would be a starter anywhere else in the ACC. 

Look for Kyren Williams, Daelin Hayes and Isaiah Foskey to have big games.

Notre Dame 44,  North Carolina 31

Christian McCollum

This one is going to be high-scoring and if you've been underestimating the Tar Heels' offensive firepower, you may be disappointed in the Irish's defensive effort. But Clark Lea's unit comes up with key stops when needed and finds a way to contain Sam Howell and the North Carolina running backs enough to get the win.

Ian Book continues his hot stretch, throwing for more than 300 yards and three touchdowns while Kyren Williams looks like the best running back on the field throughout. Ben Skowronek and Javon McKinley turn in their usual performances, a blend of chain-moving catches and big plays down the field.

The Irish clear what appears to be their last major hurdle en route to the ACC Championship Game and - perhaps - beyond.

Notre Dame 41, North Carolina 34

John Brice

I'm picking Notre Dame. 

Happy Thanksgiving.

That's it.

Just kidding. I am picking the Fighting Irish, but I do have my reasons.

Again, I've covered some good football, decent football and a lot of bad football. Coaches who can push the right buttons in-season give their teams a chance to have great success.

Coaches doing so amidst a pandemic with constant testing, unreal restrictions on student-athletes' lives and more are something none of us has seen before this bizarre season.

Brian Kelly's been masterful in this regard. "He's pushed all the right buttons, and I've never quite seen anything like it," was the quote this week from someone on campus.

So, I believe in that ability. I believe in Notre Dame's offensive ability to control the pace and tempo of this game; it also has the capability to physically dominate the Tar Heels' defense, which hasn't held anyone to fewer than 21 points since the season-opener against Syracuse way back on Sept. 12.

Yes, the UNC offense is really good. Sam Howell is a next-level player, and the Heels' offensive line is big and burly. But I'm trusting ND's defensive playmakers, as well as Clark Lea in a matchup against UNC OC Phil Longo.

Notre Dame 41,  North Carolina 30

Jamie Uyeyama  

This North Carolina offense is scary good with their skill talent. They can put up points on anybody and they will against Notre Dame as well, but it sticks out like a sore thumb that they struggled to score against two teams who could win the line of scrimmage against them. 

Boston College and Florida State did that and those were the only games UNC was held to under 30 points. Notre Dame is more physical and better than both of those teams and winning the line of scrimmage is going to be a key factor in this game.

Even if UNC has some cornerbacks return from injury, that's not helping the fact that they are bad against the run. I see the Irish having success running the football and milking the clock to keep UNC's offense off of the field as much as possible. 

UNC's flaws are a bad match against Notre Dame and their strengths aren't enough to overcome that.

Notre Dame 38,  North Carolina 28


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