Life without Mitchell Trubisky has been a bit harder than expected for North Carolina as they come into this Game with just one win against lowly Old Dominion. With a likely losing season ahead, the Tar Heels are large home underdogs against an improved Notre Dame team. The Fighting Irish were up to -15 point road favorites as of Tuesday at 5Dimes Sportsbook.
With Brian Kelly seemingly on the hot seat after last season’s finish, the Irish have done what was expected of them with their only loss coming at the hands of a hot Georgia team. In their Four wins, there’s been little competition winning all of them by at least 19 points. While Michigan State may be the only decent team of that bunch, losing by one point to Georgia is still a solid performance. The same can’t be said for North Carolina as nothing has gone right for this team. The Heels are most recently coming off a 33-7 loss to Georgia Tech. With how this team has looked, it could be another big win for the Irish.
Led by what has been one of the best rushing attacks in the country, Notre Dame should have no problems continuing that trend in this Game. Josh Adams already has 658 yards on nine yards per carry, while quarterback Brandon Wimbush is at 402 yards with eight touchdowns. Wimbush’s arm is another story completing just over 50 percent of his passes, but that mostly hasn’t mattered outside of the Georgia Game.
With UNC allowing 221.8 rushing yards per Game, one of the worst rates in the nation, expect Notre Dame to run as much as they want yet again. If that’s the case, that could lead to another 20-point win unless the Heels figure something out on the offensive side. After scoring only 24 points total in their recent losses to Duke and Georgia Tech, that’s not a guarantee.
Freshman Chazz Surratt has been better than transfer Brandon Harris under center, but that’s not saying much. Surratt has one touchdown and two interceptions in the last two Games and hasn’t thrown for more than 259 yards in a start. While that’s not terrible, it’s not enough when the ground Game isn’t as dominant as Notre Dame’s. Young running backs Jordon Brown and Michael Carter have been asked to carry the offense and haven’t been able to for the most part. Brown has half of his yards in the ODU win, while it’s a similar situation with Carter. Surratt provides some ability with his legs, but it’s clearly not enough.
This should be yet another Game that Adams and Wimbush dominate for the Irish and if that’s the case, UNC will see little of the ball. With how inefficient the UNC offense has been, it will be difficult to take them even as such a large home underdog. The Fighting Irish are 2-8 ATS in their last 10 following an ATS win, while the Tar Heels are 1-4 ATS in their last five home Games.
Our Pick – Notre Dame -14.5