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Tale of the Tape: Notre Dame

Streeter Lecka

Here is how UNC matches up with the sixth ranked Fighting Irish of Notre Dame.

North Carolina Notre Dame
Record 2-3 5-0
AP Poll Rank N/R #6
Points Per Game 36.0 31.4
Total TDs 24 19
Total Offense Per Game 415.4 429.4
Total Offense Per Play 5.4 5.9
Rushing Per Game 138.6 152.8
Rushing Per Att 3.9 4.2
Passing Per Game 276.8 276.6
Passing Per Att 6.8 7.9
Fumbles Lost 3 5
Interceptions 7 3
3rd Down Conv. 38.0% 47.4%
4th Down Conv. 44.4% 66.7%
Red Zone Conv. 95.2% 86.4%
Field Goals 4-6 8-12
Points Allowed Per Game 42.0 12.0
Total Defense Per Game 505.8 316.0
Total Defense Per Play 6.1 4.7
Rushing Per Game 186.2 95.8
Rushing Per Att 4.1 2.9
Passing Per Game 319.6 220.2
Passing Per Att 8.5 6.4
Fumbles Recovered 4 3
Interceptions 8 9
Sacks 10.0 12.0
Tackles for Loss 34.0 27.0
3rd Down Conv. 48.8% 32.4%
4th Down Conv. 66.0% 36.4%
Red Zone Conv. 80.0% 72.7%

The good news is UNC has improved all the way up to 103rd in yards per play allowed. How much of that is what UNC did versus facing a questionable is anyone's guess. The Tar Heel defense has shown some signs of improvement but not enough to believe UNC can slow down Notre Dame or anyone for that matter.

The Irish defense is a different story. Notre Dame is allowing just 12 points per game. Only two other teams are allowing fewer points: Stanford and Mississippi. Notre Dame is 19th in yards per play allowed with run defense accounting for the heavy lifting. Notre Dame giving up 2.9 yards per rushing attempt. UNC didn't run the ball outside of Marquise Williams. The Irish defense may force UNC to rely on Williams' legs instead of the running backs to move the ball on the ground. The pass defense is not quite as daunting but still good enough to give UNC problems.

Notre Dame's offense isn't great but it is good enough to put the points up against the Tar Heel defense. The Irish are 36th in yards per passing play and 45th in yards per rushing attempt. Again, these aren't scary numbers and not enough that UNC should abandon all hope of being competitive but probably sufficient for to control the game. Again, UNC's best hope would be controlling the turnover margin, something Notre Dame has also excelled at this season. Irish QB Everett Golson has three interceptions this season. UNC has eight interceptions on the year and at least one in every game so far. Given the differences in the teams, UNC will need some turnover magic to mitigate other deficiencies.