Tar Heels dominated by Notre Dame in measuring stick game – The North State Journal

UNC quarterback Drake Maye fumbles for the ball and Notre Dame defensive lineman Justin Ademilola recovers it in the Irish’s 45-32 victory Saturday at Chapel Hill. (Chris Seward/AP Photo)

CHAPEL HILL — UNC football had a chance to compare itself to one of the best programs in college football history on Saturday. And again, the Tar Heels had the short end of the measuring stick.

Notre Dame scored 24 points in seven minutes and bullied UNC en route to a 45-32 win at Kenan Stadium. The Tar Heels fell to 2-21 all-time against the Fighting Irish and haven’t won a game in the series since 2008, losing in each of the last three seasons.

Against the 10 winningest programs in FBS history – Michigan, Ohio State, Alabama, Texas, Oklahoma, Notre Dame, Penn State, Nebraska, USC and Tennessee – UNC now has a combined record of 20-62-1 and hasn’t won a game since beating Tennessee in the Music City Bowl after the 2010 season. Extending the list to the top 15 (Georgia, LSU, Auburn, Clemson and West Virginia) and heels are 47-124 -4 all time. They have lost their last 10 against the best teams in football, without a win for a dozen seasons and more.

On Saturday, the Tar Heels had one of their best chances in recent history to make a statement against a college football blue blood. Notre Dame entered with a 1-2 record, including a shock loss to Marshall. The Irish were on their second quarterback of the season following an injury to their opening day starter, and Notre Dame’s only win came after withstanding a last-second Hail Mary last week against Cal.

It was the first time Notre Dame had played the Tar Heels as the Irish had a losing record and UNC had a winning one.

None of that mattered. Against a top program in the sport, the Tar Heels were no match for it.

The Irish overpowered UNC at the line of scrimmage, rushing for 302 yards on 51 carries, averaging 5.6 per carry. By the end of the first half, Notre Dame was averaging over eight yards every time they headed the ball.

“When you rush the ball as well as they did tonight, it’s easy,” UNC coach Mack Brown said of the Irish. “They played like a top 10 team tonight.”

In the second half, the Irish ran the ball 17 times for 167 yards in the second half, controlling the ball for over 12 minutes of the third quarter and 10 minutes of the fourth in a dominant performance on offense that Carolina was powerless to stop. .

“They just lined up and punched us right in the face,” Brown said, “and kept making it work and making it work.”

After trading touchdowns early, Notre Dame opened a 14-14 tie midway through the second quarter. The Irish ran for 17 and 19 yards on a 75-yard run that ended in a 1-yard touchdown run with 2:37 to go before halftime. Notre Dame added a last-minute field goal to take a 10-point lead into the break.

“The start of the second half was an absolute killer,” Brown said. The Irish opened the half with a 75-yard touchdown on six plays. Quarterback Drake Maye then fumbled on UNC’s first offensive shot after halftime, and the Irish found the end zone on a one-yard dive. Over 6:58 of playing time spanning both halves, Notre Dame added 24 straight points.

Maye battled to keep the Tar Heels in the game, finishing with 302 yards and five touchdowns, including an 80-yard pass to Antoine Green, but the defense just couldn’t stop the Irish . In addition to the rushing spectacle — led by Audric Estime (134 yards, two TDs) and Chris Tyree (80 yards and a TD — the passing game found gaps in UNC coverage all night. Michael Mayer looked impossible to cover, catching seven passes for 88 yards and a score. Quarterback Drew Pyne, on his second start, threw for 389 yards and three touchdowns.

Brown, who has spent the entire week saying he expected to see the “same old Notre Dame,” wasn’t surprised.

“This is the team we expected to see,” he said.

And again, the Tar Heels couldn’t reach the same level.

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