The Notre Dame Fighting Irish won their first game of the season last weekend, but it was a close call. They needed to stop a last-second, game-tying Hail Mary to escape with a win over California.
Now the Fighting Irish (1-2) visit unbeaten North Carolina (3-0) in a strange case of role reversal. After being a bigger favorite on the college football odds last week, they’re a slight underdog at Chapel Hill.
This is one of the more intriguing games of Week 4, so let’s take a closer look at the matchup in the sportsbook.
Notre Dame Fighting Irish
The Notre Dame Fighting Irish won last Saturday but they needed all 60 minutes to do so. They edged Cal 24-17 in South Bend.
Notre Dame scored just seven points in the first half and took a long time to get going on offense, but 17 second-half points were enough to push the Irish across the finish line.
Notre Dame’s defense gave up a downfield touchdown pass in the first half but was able to shut off big plays after that. The game ended with Cal trying a Hail Mary pass that deflected off a Golden Bear receiver in the end zone.
If you had said before the season began that Notre Dame would need an incomplete pass on the final play of the game to avoid going to overtime with Cal, few would have believed you.
This team is playing far below expectations. With two losses, it is already out of the running for a College Football Playoff berth.
Notre Dame will have to win the rest of its games to get a top-tier bowl bid. The season isn’t yet a disaster, but it’s close to it and the margin for error is gone.
North Carolina Tar Heels
The North Carolina Tar Heels’ defense has not played well at all in three games versus Florida A&M, Appalachian State and Georgia State, but the offense has been superb in leading North Carolina to a 3-0 record.
Quarterback Drake Maye has been brilliant for North Carolina, leading an explosive passing attack. North Carolina and Maye delivered a tie-breaking touchdown in Week 1 versus Georgia State on a 92-yard drive that featured a number of impressive plays.
One week earlier, North Carolina scored 63 points, which was entirely necessary since UNC allowed 61 in that game against App State.
Notre Dame has the quality defense and North Carolina has the quality offense. It’s a clash of opposites in this game. Typically, those who bet online have been riding their overs, but we’re not sure if Notre Dame will contribute enough.
Notre Dame vs North Carolina Injury Report
Notre Dame is without quarterback Tyler Buchner, so that’s why Drew Pyne is starting. Other injuries include defensive lineman Osita Ekwonu, who is questionable with an Achilles injury.
Tight end Cane Berrong is questionable with a knee injury.
North Carolina’s Josh Downs, the team’s best wide receiver, is questionable with a lower-body injury.
Running back Caleb Hood is questionable, also with a lower-body injury. Receiver Antoine Green is doubtful with an upper-body injury.
Notre Dame vs North Carolina Head-to-Head
The teams met last year. Notre Dame won 44-34.
Notre Dame vs North Carolina Game Information
- Game: Notre Dame (1-2) vs North Carolina (3-0)
- Location: Kenan Stadium, Chapel Hill, NC
- Day/Time: Saturday, Sept. 24, 3:30 p.m. ET
- Notre Dame vs North Carolina Live Stream: ESPN
Take a Look at These Special Articles For This NCAAF Season
- West Virginia vs Virginia Tech Prediction, Game Preview, Live Stream, Odds & Picks
- Minnesota vs Michigan State Prediction, Game Preview, Live Stream, Odds & Picks
Notre Dame vs North Carolina Betting Lines
Notre Dame vs North Carolina Prediction
The Tar Heels have the better record, but Notre Dame has the better, tougher, stronger line play on both sides of the ball.
There’s a reason why the Irish are small underdogs despite laboring to start the season. Take the Irish with your college football picks as they’ll win and hand UNC its first loss.