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Notre Dame chokes out North Carolina in the 2nd half for 31-17 win

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Irish remain perfect.

Notre Dame v North Carolina Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images

The Notre Dame Fighting Irish were supposedly on upset alert against the North Carolina Tar heels on Saturday, but answered the call — especially in the 2nd half on defense — and are leaving Chapel Hill 9-0 with a 31-17 win.

This game was a track meet in the first quarter. After a 3 and out by the Irish offense, Sam Howell and the Heels went to work and took a short 50 yard drive into the endzone to start off the scoring. We then had back-to-back 75 yard drives for touchdowns by Notre Dame and UNC with both ending in short runs for the score (UNC’s was Howell and ND’s was Kyren Williams).

Notre Dame put together another drive in the first quarter that went a little quicker. The Irish went 82 yards on 4 plays — thanks to a big reception from Javon McKinley, and a 4 yard crazy pass reception for touchdown for Kyren Williams to make it 14 all going into the 2nd quarter.

After a couple of punts for both teams, North Carolina was able to take a 17-14 lead with a field goal with just 1:10 left in the half. Kyle Hamilton was ejected for targeting during that drive, and it was a big win for the Irish to hold them to those 3 points.

Notre Dame went right to work and drove down the field quickly to set up for a Jonathan Doerer field goal to tie it at 17 as time expired in the first half.

On Notre Dame’s first possession of the 2nd half, Notre Dame drove 97 yards for a touchdown. The score was from a 13 yard end around with Bennett Skowronek — a truly great play call from Tommy Rees.

The Clark Lea defense really crashed down on the UNC offense in the second half. Notre Dame scored on another Williams TD to ice the game at 31-17 — but forced punts from the Tar Heel offense on the 5 previous drives that netted 54 total yards.