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Quick Recap: Notre Dame Handles North Carolina on the Road, 33-10

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It felt like Notre Dame dominated this one, but it was still close late. The Irish pulled it out anyway.

NCAA Football: Notre Dame at North Carolina Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

The Notre Dame Fighting Irish continued to do exactly what they’re supposed to do on Saturday afternoon, this time in Chapel Hill against the North Carolina Tar Heels. The Irish took down their latest ACC opponent 33-10, and despite the game being relatively close at half time, it was never really in question.

Ian Book was your starter at quarterback in place of an injured Brandon Wimbush, but it turns out that that wasn’t even the real story from the game. The real story was, as it tends to be, the ever-dominant ground game and the improved defense.

With 335 yards on the ground and a performance from Josh Adams that saw the Irish running back eclipse 100 yards before half time (again), it’s apparent that outstanding offense is just a habit for the Notre Dame running backs and offensive linemen. Freshman CJ Holmes got carries to fill in for Dexter Williams who was battling injuries, but the most surprising running back for the Irish was Deon McIntosh. He tallied 124 yards and two touchdowns, and his runs were impressive and physical. Here’s an example.

The other story from this game is the Notre Dame defense. Mike Elko’s unit surrendered all of 265 yards on the day, and was pretty great to watch, to be honest. I haven’t seen gold helmets all over a ball carrier the way I did Saturday afternoon in a long, long time. Julian Okwara, Jerry Tillery, and Jay Hayes all made incredible defensive plays, and the Notre Dame secondary played pretty well. It’s illustrative of the change in culture that has taken place on that side of the ball in South Bend with the addition of Mike Elko.

Another note: It rained on a Notre Dame football game in the Carolinas. We’ve all seen that before. But this time, Notre Dame won. The Irish stare down the difficult part of the schedule now, as USC, NC State, and Miami (who beat Florida State today) loom. The Notre Dame Fighting Irish have a chance to put up some good resume-building wins to go along with the quality loss to the Georgia Bulldogs.