The 11th-ranked Notre Dame Fighting Irish (6-1) look to start a new home field winning streak when it takes on the North Carolina Tar Heels (4-3). Mack Brown's squad has been a disappointment based on its preseason rankings, but the Tar Heels remain dangerous.
The matchup between the Notre Dame offense and the North Carolina defense is the part of the game that pits a pair of scuffling units against each other. Notre Dame's offense hasn't lived up to expectations this season and North Carolina's defense has been just as bad this season as it was last season.
Whoever wins this matchup will have a great shot at winning the game on Saturday. Here's a breakdown of how the Notre Dame offense stacks up against the Tar Heel defense.
Notre Dame Rush Offense vs UNC Rush Defense
If you look at how the Notre Dame rush offense stacks up against the Tar Heel rush defense for the entire season this is advantage UNC. If you look at the most recent performances it is advantage Notre Dame, who is averaging 175.0 yards per game in its two most recent games, while the Tar Heels have given up 197.5 rushing yards in its last two games, a 10-point loss to Florida State and a 3-point win over Miami.
North Carolina will play a more aggressive style against the Irish than what we saw against USC, so the Irish line will have to be on top of its game. In the video above we break down what that looks like, and what the Irish must do to thrive in the run game against North Carolina, why it can't get too focused on the run game and how important it is to remain balanced.
Notre Dame Pass Offense vs UNC Pass Defense
Advantage: Notre Dame
Notre Dame's pass offense has been up-and-down all season. At times it has been a high-octane explosive unit, it has been inefficient during other portions of the season and it was highly efficient against USC. I'm not sure what version we'll see against North Carolina, but this is a matchup Notre Dame should win.
There are aspects of this matchup that do concern me for Notre Dame, especially the ability of North Carolina to use stunts and blitzes to pressure the quarterback and the matchup between the talented North Carolina corners and Notre Dame receivers Kevin Austin and Braden Lenzy. For Notre Dame the key will be finding ways to get slot receiver Avery Davis, tight end Michael Mayer and the Irish running backs going in the pass game.
In the video above we break down the schematic things Notre Dame must do in order to get the pass game rolling against North Carolina.
Notre Dame Scoring Offense vs UNC Scoring Defense
Advantage: Notre Dame
It's not that hard at the end of the day. Notre Dame's offense hasn't been great this season but North Carolina's defense is really, really bad. The key in this game will be for the Notre Dame offense to be at its best, not miss opportunities that we saw last week and to maximize its scoring opportunities.
In the video above we break down this final aspect of the matchup and why Notre Dame holds the advantage.
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