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Notre Dame Football

ISD Game Predictions: North Carolina

September 23, 2022

It’s Friday, and that means it’s game prediction time once again.  The 1-2 Irish are trying to restart their 2023 season hoping to reach .500 before the bye week.  North Carolina is hoping to find a defense to go with their explosive offense to stop Notre Dame’s emerging rushing attack.  Which team will come out on top on Saturday?

Mike Frank

This does seem like a “must win” game for Notre Dame and Marcus Freeman.  There is no question the Irish offense has issues, but they should be able to move the ball against this Tar Heel defense.  Can they score enough points to win, though?

Drew Pyne had a rough start last week, but he steadied himself in the second half.  I expect him to play much better. The run game came alive.  One could see Notre Dame’s team gaining confidence.   Most of the problems from the offense last Saturday are fixable, and I expect a good number to be fixed this week.  

I’ve never been a believer in Mack Brown as a coach, and I’m still not heading into this game.  The Irish will somehow find a way to win.

Notre Dame 28, North Carolina 27

Andrew Mentock

The Fighting Irish offense gets off to a good start against a poor North Carolina defense, and it's a back-and-forth game throughout. 

In the fourth quarter, the Notre Dame defense comes up with a couple of huge stops, which enables the Irish to hold onto a late-game lead and pick up win No. 2 of the Marcus Freeman era. 

Notre Dame 38, North Carolina 34

Matt Freeman

This had the makings of being a classic shootout but Notre Dame would prefer to keep the points down as the offense has struggled through three games. 

The good news for Notre Dame is North Carolina might have the worst Power Five defense so this is a true strength vs. strength and weakness vs. weakness. 

Right now, I like North Carolina being able to score late if it's a close game more than Notre Dame, but the Irish have a chance to get the ground game going, which could lead to victory. 

North Carolina 24, Notre Dame 20

Christian McCollum

This game isn't a prototypical shootout, but it still ends up being a First-Team-to-30 instead of a First-Team-to-20 game, which would play more into the Irish's favor. 

Notre Dame's offense picks up where it left off in the second half against Cal, but it's still not yet humming on all cylinders. It's not nearly as ineffective as it was for the majority of the first 10 quarters of the season, but there is still room to grow and unfortunately, a Tar Heel team in Chapel Hill isn't the best setting for that growth. The offense is again led by the running game, but quarterback Drew Pyne looks much sharper than he did in his debut start a week ago and the receivers even make an impact in this one.

The Irish defense plays solid overall, but big plays, a tough third quarter and Josh Downs just prove too much in the end.

North Carolina 31, Notre Dame 27

Jamie Uyeyama 

I think if all things were equal, I'd be taking UNC to win this game because the gap between their quarterback and Notre Dame's is significant. All things aren't equal, though, and there is also a massive disparity between Notre Dame's defensive line and North Carolina's offensive line. That is going to make a huge difference in this game.

Notre Dame will get to Drake Maye. The fact that they have been able to limit explosive plays so well to start this season, especially against Ohio State, makes me believe they can have similar success against UNC. They'll keep the points down lower than most think.

The Irish offense is a different story, but they are matching up with a defense that has struggled just as much as them. I don't think it will be a breakout game for Drew Pyne, but I see them doing enough to manufacture points on the board.

Notre Dame 27, North Carolina 24


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