Our next Notre Dame football opponent preview brings us to yet another ACC opponent, North Carolina. You might think of them as a basketball school, but I promise you, this is a football team on the rise and one that might just give the Irish more trouble than you think.
Previous Opponent Previews:
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Those eight returning starters should immediately jump off the page. Those starters include a returning QB, Marquise Williams, that threw only 26 less passes than the QB whose job he took. Williams though, also managed to be the teams top rusher. The #2 rusher, TJ Logan, also returns, along with four of five of the Tarheel’s top receivers, excluding only Eric Ebron who left for the NFL.
That’s a lot of fire-power coming back, coupled with a young offensive line, three of whom are returning starters, that should only get better this season.
Under Larry Fedora, the offense jumped from sub-400 yard per game seasons (tracking back to 2007) to years of 486 and 426 yards. Now that they’ve found a true dual-threat that fits the system, this progress should only improve.
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The Tarheel defense, on the other hand, isn’t seeing the same gains. However, five of the seven returning starters are experienced seniors and the defensive line has now been restocked with two redshirt freshman, Dajaun Drennon and Greg Webb, that will look to make an impact.
If there is a year that this unit can turn around, this is the year.
What to Expect
This has all the makings of a trap game.
After coming off Stanford and with Florida State looming just around the corner, the Irish could possibly look past North Carolina. Regardless of what coaches and athletes say about taking everything one week at a time, it is simply human nature to start eyeing the defending national champs the week after what should be a very hard fought game against one of the top teams in the nation.
Make no mistake, North Carolina is a team on the rise. Looking past the Tarheels would be a grave mistake that will cost the Irish.
There is a reason many people are touting the Irish schedule as one of the toughest schedules in the nation. There are very few breaks in this slate and the combination of Stanford, North Carolina, and Flordia State will be simply brutal.
Expect the Irish to have a bit of hangover after Stanford no mater what the result. This has all the makings of a close game in which the Irish will be thankful to leave South Bend with a victory.
Study Your Enemy
Read up on the Tar Heels here: