North Carolina at Notre Dame: 5 Things to Know
"5 Things To Know"
1-Notre Dame Will Establish A Ground Game
Notre Dame doesn't need to score 45 points and hold the Tar Heels to zero points. Simply put, they need to play smart football and mistake-free football altogether.
For the Irish to accomplish avoiding an upset of epic proportions, running the football will be key this Saturday.
And against one of the nations worst defenses versus the run, they should find the going rather easy.
While the Irish are only averaging 152 yards a game, the threat of breaking out each weekend has yet to materialize for various reasons.
The Stanford game pitted the Irish against perhaps the nation's top defense. Against Syracuse and Purdue, Everett Golson pretty much had his way passing the ball-thus it eliminated the need to pound the ball.
This weekend will be the day Notre Dame fans have waited for: Greg Bryant,Tarean Folston and Cam McDaniel will run for around 200 to 250 total yards and 3 touchdowns between them.
2-The Irish Defense Will Get 3 To 5 Sacks
Bold, but within reach.
With an offense seeking to attempt big things, like pulling off an upset- mistakes happen.
Mistakes open doors for young, hungry defenses.
The Tar Heel offense has a mild running game which is led by quarterback Marquise Williams. One time Irish commit Elijah Hood may attempt to solidify his decision to flip to North Carolina.
The receiving group for the Heels is subpar. Quinshad Davis with 16 receptions leads all Tar Heel receivers.
The bigger concern during the game will be how well the Irish defense plays considering what lies ahead next with Florida State. Young and talented, the group stymied Stanford last week and held the Cardinals to 14 first downs.
More impressive is the stat of 205 total yards that Notre Dame held Stanford to.
The emergence of freshman Andrew Trumbetti has ignited an already stingy group of linemen in Sheldon Day and Jarron Jones- a unit that has all but surpassed totals accumalated in all of 2013.
The Irish defense under Brian VanGorder has 12 sacks and 9 interceptions through 5 games.
Keep an eye on: #91 Sheldon Day #90 Jarron Jones #93 Justin Utopa
The sack total will rise after Saturday.
3- Everett Golson Will Move His Heisman Needle
With a pourous run defense in his face, Golson will have the luxury of time.
Not something teams want to do with a weapon like Golson.
And with a host of rising stars like #7 Will Fuller, #2 Chris Brown and #88 Corey Robinson, Golson should pad his stats and ignite a potential for a high scoring affair for his offense.
Add in what the running game will accomplish, and the Tar Heel defense will backpeddle for the better part of the afternoon allowing Golson to thrive.
Alongside Robinson and Fuller, returning starter #3 Amir Carlisle is now being pushed by #16 Torii Hunter.
That's alot of weapons for any defense to contend with- especially facing a quarterback like Everett.
4-The Irish Will Get Their 1st Special Teams Touchdown In 2014
Simply put-their due.
With the rest of the team coming together, the rejuvinated special teams looks to stamp itself as another part of the 2014 Irish that is progressing.
This could come during a punt return, and in all likelyhood-Cody Riggs will be the player to accomplish the feat.
Riggs has 14 returns on the year, and with a defense that should hold the Tar Heels for the most part-Riggs wil have ample shots at running one back.
5-The 'Frozen 5' Will Remain On Ice
The 5 suspended players, if released from their suspensions- will not see the field this Saturday.
And as of Thursday, all but a glimmer of hope remains to get them ready for Florida State.
Pressed for the millionth time during the process as to the status or if a resolution is near, coach Brian Kelly offered a vanilla response today(Thursday):
"I do not have any specific information to share with you," Kelly said. "If I did, I would probably let them share it with you, if I knew something specific, which I don't have a specific - I don't want to use verdict or announcement.
"I'm hearing some things, but I'm going to let them share any information they have with you. But as it stands right now, I do not have any of those players back at practice."