College Football
Preview
Notre Dame at North Carolina
When: 3:30 PM ET, Friday, November 27, 2020
Where: Kenan Memorial Stadium, Chapel Hill, North Carolina

A week off might have been good for No. 2 Notre Dame, but the Fighting Irish must return to action ready for more challenges.

"There are still some things out there for us that we need to get better," coach Brian Kelly said. "Get ready for this stretch drive because it's going to be a tough one. A lot work left for this football team."

A matchup with No. 25 North Carolina comes next for Notre Dame on Friday at Kenan Stadium in Chapel Hill, N.C.

"We definitely understand this is a big opportunity for our team and it's a tremendous challenge against a team like Notre Dame," North Carolina quarterback Sam Howell said. "We know the impact a win like this can have on a program. It's definitely a game we want to win and we're going to put in all the work."

With three games remaining, Notre Dame (8-0, 7-0 Atlantic Coast Conference) still has work to do to qualify for the ACC championship game. Clemson and Miami, both with one loss, are in the mix, while North Carolina (6-2, 6-2) can stay in contention by defeating the Irish.

Notre Dame and North Carolina have similar firepower, though that's often produced in varying fashions.

In its most recent game, North Carolina wiped out a 21-point second-half hole to overcome visiting Wake Forest 59-53 on Nov. 14. Later that day, Notre Dame followed its conquering of then-No. 1 Clemson by winning 45-31 at Boston College.

Howell posted a school-record 550 passing yards against Wake Forest.

"If you look at them, certainly the first thing is the big-chunk plays," Kelly said. "... Eliminating the big-chunk plays, making them earn it down the field, I think is job (No.) 1. They have schemes for everything. We have to do a good job of keeping them to minimum gains. They're going to move the ball."

Kelly said the Irish continue to evolve at the cornerback position, which includes true freshman Clarence Lewis on one side. In order to keep the Tar Heels in check, controlling the line of scrimmage will be important.

"We still have to work a rotation to get a pass rush," Kelly said.

Notre Dame limits opponents to an ACC-best 85.1 rushing yards per game. North Carolina running backs Javonte Williams (108.5) and Michael Carter (100.9) both average more than that on the ground individually. Williams has a league-high 18 touchdowns, 15 coming on the ground.

Howell tops the ACC with 338 yards per game of total offense and 23 touchdown passes.

"We definitely have a lot of confidence that we can score as many points as it takes to win," Howell said. "We are going to have a really good plan."

Notre Dame quarterback Ian Book has thrown for 11 touchdowns with one interception. Irish running back Kyren Williams has posted 97.1 rushing yards per game.

North Carolina has given up some large point totals. The Tar Heels could have some new looks this week.

"We're also throwing in some wrinkles in practice to make sure we're on top of everything," linebacker Jeremiah Gemmel said. "Notre Dame likes to attack your weaknesses, and we've seen that on tape throughout the year."

Notre Dame will have adjustments to make on the offensive line.

Four-year starting right guard Tommy Kraemer underwent an appendectomy and will miss the North Carolina game, according to reports out of South Bend, Ind. Notre Dame is already without center Jarrett Patterson because of a broken foot.

This is North Carolina's final ACC home game, though the Tar Heels will attempt to play a nonleague home game next week against Western Carolina.

That game, which was added to the schedule after the Tar Heels' attempts to play nonconference contests in September were derailed, was pushed up from Dec. 11 to Dec. 5 amid numerous rescheduled ACC games.

The Tar Heels play at Miami on Dec. 12.

--Field Level Media

Stats and Records
Team Comparison
  W‑L Strk PF PA Home Away Grass Turf Conf
Notre Dame 8-0 W8 37.6 16.6 5-0 3-0 2-0 0-0 7-0
North Carolina 6-2 W2 43.1 30.8 4-0 2-2 5-2 0-0 6-2
Last Meeting
Notre Dame North Carolina
Date Away Home Tot Rus Pas Tot Rus Pas
10/7/17 ND 33 UNC 10 487 341 146 265 86 179
Player Stats
Previous Matchup
Passing Player COMP % YDS TD INT
Notre Dame I. Book 54.8 146 1 2
North Carolina C. Surratt 45.2 179 1 1
Rushing Player CAR YDS AVG TD
Notre Dame D. McIntosh 12 124 10.3 2
North Carolina C. Surratt 12 32 2.7 0
Receiving Player REC YDS AVG TD
Notre Dame A. Mack 6 38 6.3 0
North Carolina A. Ratliff-Williams 5 55 11.0 1
Touchdowns Player TD
Notre Dame D. McIntosh 2
North Carolina A. Ratliff-Williams 1
Season
Passing Player COMP % YDS TD INT
Notre Dame I. Book 62.0 1817 11 1
North Carolina S. Howell 67.7 2631 23 6
Rushing Player CAR YDS AVG TD
Notre Dame K. Williams 137 777 5.7 10
North Carolina J. Williams 120 868 7.2 15
Receiving Player REC YDS AVG TD
Notre Dame J. McKinley 24 414 17.2 0
North Carolina D. Brown 45 829 18.4 8
Touchdowns Player TD
Notre Dame K. Williams 10
North Carolina J. Williams 18
Quickchart Matchup
Notre Dame Notre Dame Off vs  North Carolina North Carolina Def
Notre Dame 462.1 yards
North Carolina 413.6 yards
Notre Dame 5.2 yards/rush
North Carolina 4.1 yards/rush
Notre Dame 8.2 yards/attempt
North Carolina 7.3 yards/attempt
North Carolina North Carolina Off vs  Notre Dame Notre Dame Def
North Carolina 563.4 yards
Notre Dame 304.1 yards
North Carolina 5.6 yards/rush
Notre Dame 2.9 yards/rush
North Carolina 10.6 yards/attempt
Notre Dame 6.7 yards/attempt