A big matchup that will be a major one to look out for in week four, will be when the Notre Dame Fighting Irish head to North Carolina to take on the Tar Heels. While North Carolina is entering the game 3-0, they have had plenty of close games off the jump from Appalachian State and Georgia State. North Carolina started on a slow start of 0-2. After a competitive matchup against Ohio State, they were completely shocked from home by Marshall. They bounced back with a win against California, but it was a lot closer than expected and didn’t give Irish faithful a lot of comfort. After losing starting QB Tyler Buchner for the season against Marshall, replacement Drew Pyne didn’t exactly ‘wow’ the crowd despite throwing for 2 TDs. They need to show their ability to get two wins in a row for more comfort to grow in this new Marcus Freeman era. Let’s get into this game’s matchup picks and predictions.
Notre Dame vs. North Carolina Betting Odds
Notre Dame still doesn’t have book makers convinced and they are entering the game as underdogs despite initially being favorites when the odds were initially published. North Carolina are moneyline favorites at -124 odds. They are also spreadline favorites at -2 points so many are expecting this to be a close game. Mack Brown has built a competitive team during his tenure with the Tar Heels but they have underperformed during his time there. While they don’t have star QB Sam Howell any more, Drake Maye has been incredible so far and the Tar Heels offense has been one of the top-10 in the country in terms of yards gained so far this year. Maye has been able to get so far to get 930 yards and 11 TDs but they have yet to play a Power-5 team this year. Notre Dame will be a good test for them at home.
The over/under line is currently at 56 points. North Carolina has had no issues scoring, but the Notre Dame offense has still struggled to get scoring going and have yet to put up 30 or more points in a contest. Their defense is quite strong though so it will be interesting if they can test the North Carolina offense.
Notre Dame vs. North Carolina Picks & Predictions
Even with Drew Pyne still getting used to the starting job with Notre Dame, I think the Irish are able to silence the critics a bit in this game and get a confident win on the road. North Carolina’s defense has struggled to stop scoring as they’ve let up 24 or more points per game. Notre Dame’s defense has been well despite offensive struggles. They proved that against Cal last week as they came up big in the end to force back to back stops of the Cal offense as they tried to even the score. Notre Dame is due for a win to remind the country who the Fighting Irish are and can be. They were placed No. 5 at the beginning of the season for a reason. They have the talent, they just need to get off on the right momentum so they can still have a successful season.
The over/under line at 56 points is interesting and I’m not sure if I want to touch it. I am not sure if North Carolina will be able to score as easily against the Irish defense and the Irish offense still has a lot of question marks.
Notre Dame vs North Carolina Key Matchups
Is Drew Pyne good enough to overcome this Notre Dame secondary? Check out the key matchups and mismatches for Notre Dame vs UNC below.
Drew Pyne vs. North Carolina Defense
The biggest matchup in this game that is crucial for Notre Dame to win will be Drew Pyne and his ability to be successful against the North Carolina defense. Drew Pyne struggled early against Cal but still managed to get two TDs and 150 passing yards. It wasn’t a perfect game but he did what he needed to do to help the Irish to get the victory. Going on the road, I think he will be able to ease into the situation more and be a good leader that the Irish needs, finding receivers more often, and game managing the situation that will help the Irish get their second win for new head coach Marcus Freeman.