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First Glance: North Carolina Tar Heels

Taking a first glance look at Notre Dame's next opponent, the North Carolina Tar Heels

Notre Dame hosts North Carolina in the second straight game under the lights in Notre Dame Stadium. The Tar Heels were a dark horse national title pick coming into the season and were ranked in the top 10 of most preseason polls. What the pollsters ignored was that despite returning talented QB Sam Howell, the Heels were replacing two thousand-yard rushers (Michael Carter and Javonte Williams) and a thousand-yard receiver (Dyami Brown).

North Carolina still has talent and Notre Dame will need to control the line of scrimmage and stop a good Tar Heels offense from finding success on early downs. Key to limiting the UNC offense? Just like last year, the Irish defense needs to take away the running ability of Howell and make him sit in the pocket – he has carried the ball 96 times for 494 yards this season.

On the offensive side of the ball, look for Notre Dame to build on the strong offensive performance last weekend against USC. North Carolina’s defense ranks in the middle to the bottom of a weak ACC in most defensive statistics and the balanced attack the Irish displayed against the Trojans should help them keep the Tar Heel defense guessing and find success both on the ground and through the air.

Game Date: Saturday, October 30
Start Time: 7:30 PM ET
Network: NBC
Line: Notre Dame -3.5, O/U 62.5

We kick off our deep dive into the Tar Heels with a first glance look at the coaching staff, results, and statistical leaders.

HEAD COACH – Mack Brown, 13th season

North Carolina Record: 88-59-1
Overall Record: 263-135-1

Brown is in his second stint with the Tar Heels. He served as North Carolina head coach from 1988-1997 before accepting the Texas job in 1998. He retired after the 2013 season after 16 years at the helm of the Longhorns, including a national title in 2005. He returned to the sidelines at UNC in 2019 after Larry Fedora was fired.

Offensive Coordinator: Phil Longo, 3rd season
Co-Defensive Coordinators: Jay Bateman, 3rd season; Tommy Thigpen, 4th season

2021 RESULTS (4-3)

at Virginia Tech – Lost 17-10
Georgia State – Won 59-17
Virginia – Won 59-39
at Georgia Tech – Lost 45-22
Duke – Won 38-7
Florida State – Lost 35-25
Miami – Won 45-42


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Rushing: RB Ty Chandler – 106 att., 588 yards, 5.6 YPC, 7 TD; QB Sam Howell – 96 att., 494 yards, 5.2 YPC, 5 TD; RB D.J. Jones – 38 att., 167 yards, 4.4 YPC, 0 TD; RB Caleb Hood – 14 att., 82 yards, 5.9 YPC, 1 TD

Passing: QB Sam Howell – 129 com., 211 att., 61.1%, 1851 yards, 18 TD, 6 INT, 157.29 rating

Receiving: WR Josh Downs – 60 rec., 837 yards, 14.0 YPC, 8 TD; WR Antoine Green – 11 rec., 253 yards, 23.0 YPC, 1 TD; WR Emery Simmons – 11 rec., 243 yards, 22.1 YPC, 1 TD; TE Kamari Morales – 16 rec., 146 yards, 9.1 YPC, 4 TD; RB Ty Chandler – 7 rec., 140 yards, 20.0 YPC, 1 TD; TE Garrett Walston – 11 rec., 89 yards, 8.1 YPC, 1 TD

Tackles: DB Ja’Qurious Conley – 38; LB Jeremiah Gemmel – 38; LB Cedric Gray – 36; DB Trey Morrison – 29; DB Cam’Ron Kelly – 29; DB Don Chapman – 25; DB Tony Grimes – 21; DL Raymond Vohasek – 21; LB Eugene Asante – 20; DL Myles Murphy - 20

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Tackles for Loss: DL Myles Murphy – 8.5; LB Tomon Fox – 4.5; LB Kaimon Rucker – 4.0; LB Jeremiah Gemmel – 4.0; LB Chris Collins – 3.5; DB Ja’Qurious Conley – 3.0; DL Tomari Fox – 2.5; LB Desmond Evans – 2.5; LB Cedric Gray – 2.0

Sacks: DL Myles Murphy – 4.0; LB Tomon Fox – 3.0; LB Kaimon Rucker – 2.5; DL Tomari Fox – 1.5; DB Giovanni Biggers – 1.0; LB Chris Collins – 1.0; DL Kevin Hester Jr. – 1.0

Interceptions: LB Cedric Gray – 2; DB Cam’Ron Kelly – 2; DB Ja’Qurious Conley – 2; LB Power Echols – 1 

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