Notre Dame needed a big win to get its house back in order, and they did just that with a solid 45-32 win over the odds on favorite of the day, North Carolina.
It was an omnious start for the Notre Dame Fighting Irish and quarterback Drew Pyne. The North Carolina Tar Heels took the opening possession and put it in the endzone quickly, and Drew Pyne couldn’t get his initial passes over the outstretched arms of the UNC defenders. The Irish tried countering the UNC score with a 44 yard field goal from Blake Grupe — but it went wide right.
And then it all took a gradual turn in Notre Dame’s favor. The Irish kept this “electric” UNC offense grounded, and Drew Pyne started connecting with his receivers with shots downfield.
Notre Dame went on a six possession run of scores from the second quarter through the middle of the third quarter that included 5 touchdowns and a Blake Grupe field goal.
Drew Pyne first found Michael Mayewr for a 10 yard TD to cap an 83 yard drive, and then he hit Lorenzo Styles on a 30 yard bomb to the endzone that ended a 3 play 81 yard drive. Audric Estime added two touchdowns on the ground, and Pyne found Logan Diggs on a wheel route for a 29 yard touchdown reception.
There was no 7th score in a row as Notre Dame finally stopped themselves with a turnover on downs. North Carolina made it a little interesting with an 80 yard TD pass from Drake Maye to Antoine Greene. The Irish, however, countered with a 12 play (all runs) 75 yard drive that ended with a Chris Tyree score to make it 45-20 early in the 4th quarter. The UNC defense had a roughing the passer and a pass interference penalty with the Irish inside the 5 on that drive.
North Carolina scraped together another touchdown drive that was aided by ANOTHer J.D. Bertrand targeting call, but they missed the 2 point conversion, and the Irish were still up 19, 45-26.
Notre Dame leaned on Audric Estime on the next drive with one big chunk run after another. The sophomore big back, however, fumbled at the one yard line as he tried to spin in for a score to deny the Irish a 50 burger. Estime would finish the game with over 130 yards on the ground and two touchdowns.
North Carolina wouldn’t go away quietly, and on 4th and 21, Maye found Greene again for a 64 yard touchdown with a failed 2 point attempt with 1:44 left in the game. UNC couldn’t get the onside kick to follow, and the Irish ran out the clock.
We will have much more on OFD soon.