No. 2 Notre Dame vs No. 25 North Carolina

No. 2 Notre Dame vs No. 25 North Carolina | 2020 NCAAF Expert Analysis

Written by on November 26, 2020

If No. 2 Notre Dame can avoid an upset at No. 25 North Carolina on Friday afternoon, the Fighting Irish are almost locks to reach the ACC Championship Game and likely have a rematch against Clemson. Notre Dame is favored in Chapel Hill on the NCAAF odds.

How to Bet Notre Dame at North Carolina NCAA Football Odds & TV Info

  • When: Friday, 3:30 PM ET
  • Where: Kenan Stadium, Chapel Hill
  • TV: ABC
  • Stream: ESPN app
  • Radio:com
  • Opening NCAAF Lines: Irish -4.5 (total 67)

Last Meeting

The schools met in 2017 also in Chapel Hill and the Irish won 33-10 – UNC wasn’t very good back then. Josh Adams ran for 118 yards, including a 73-yard touchdown. He’s now in the NFL. Deon McIntosh (also gone now) added 124 yards rushing and two scores for the Fighting Irish.

Friday will be the 21st all-time meetings between the schools in a series that began in 1949. Notre Dame leads 18-2. This will be just the second game in the series when both teams are ranked. In the only previous time in 1950, No. 1 Notre Dame won 14-7 over No. 20 UNC in South Bend. In the previous 20 meetings, Notre Dame has been ranked in 13 of those. Both Tar Heels wins in this series did come at home: A 12-7 decision in 1960 and 29-24 in 2008.

Why Bet on Notre Dame? | 2020 NCAAF Expert Analysis

The Irish (8-0) have been off since a 45 -31 win at Boston College on Nov. 14 as the Irish extended the nation’s longest winning streak to 14 in a row. Ian Book finished 20-of-27 for 283 yards and three touchdowns while adding 85 yards and a touchdown on the ground. Ben Skowronek led the Irish receiving corps with five catches for 63 yards and a career-high three touchdowns.

The Irish limited the Eagles to 85 yards on the ground, the fifth-straight opponent Notre Dame has held under 100 yards rushing. Jack Kiser recorded his first career interception in the third quarter that led to a Notre Dame touchdown drive. It was Notre Dame’s seventh straight ACC road win.

The Irish have scored 45 or more points in two-consecutive games for the first time since 1996 (vs. Pitt 60-6, vs. Rutgers 62-0). Entering Saturday, Boston College’s scoring defense ranked fourth in the ACC, allowing 24.6 points per game. Notre Dame surpassed that mark in the first half alone with 31 points in the first 30 minutes. Notre Dame has outscored opponents 117-25 in the second quarter this season.

It was the 100th win at Notre Dame for Coach Brian Kelly to tie Lou Holtz for second all-time in program history. Notre Dame has started the season 8-0 for the third time under Kelly and the Irish are 31-3 since the beginning of the 2018 season (.918).

Saturday’s matchup marks the first meeting between Kelly and Mack Brown, the top two winningest active coaches in the FBS by number of wins (Kelly, 271; Brown, 257). They have also coached the most games (Kelly, 367; Brown, 388) and are the two longest-tenured among active FBS coaches (Kelly, 30th year; Brown, 32nd year).

The Irish have only trailed for 30:29 minutes out of a total 480:00 minutes of regulation this year.

Why Bet on North Carolina? | 2020 NCAAF Expert Analysis

UNC (6-2) played most recently on Nov. 14 and beat Wake Forest 59-53 in a wild game. Sam Howell threw for program records of 550 yards and six touchdowns, and scored the go-ahead rushing TD with 4:11 left. Howell’s 20-yard keeper capped a comeback from 21 down midway through the third quarter for the Tar Heels, tying the program record for biggest comeback in a win.  Howell’s 550 passing yards were the third most in ACC history. Only Clemson’s Deshaun Watson (580 vs. Pittsburgh in 2016) and Miami’s Steven Morris (566 vs. NC State in 2012) passed for more yards in a game.

UNC finished with a program-record 742 yards, highlighted by huge performances from receivers Dazz Newsome (10 catches for 189 yards) and Dyami Brown (eight catches for 163 yards) as each hauled in two of Howell’s scoring throws.

This is the second season in Carolina football history the Tar Heels have scored 50 or more points against three ACC opponents. The Tar Heels scored 56 points against Virginia Tech on October 10, 56 at Duke on November 7 and 59 today vs. Wake Forest. UNC scored 50 or more in three ACC games also in 2015.

Carolina has put up at least 500 yards of offense in six straight games. That’s the first time that has happened in at least 50 years, dating back to existing records that begin in 1971. UNC has accumulated more than 400 yards of total offense in each of its last 16 games.

UNC is second in the ACC to Clemson in scoring offense with 43.1 points per game. That figure is 7th nationally among teams playing at least four games. Carolina ranks fourth nationally and leads the ACC with 563.4 yards per game of total offense. UNC is on pace to shatter the school record of 486.9 yards per game set in 2015. The Heels are 10th in the country with 233.5 rushing yards per game among teams that have played at least four games.

Game Trends

  • Fighting Irish are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 road games vs. a team with a winning home record.
  • Fighting Irish are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 games as a road favorite.
  • Fighting Irish are 9-3 ATS in their last 12 games following a straight up win.
  • Tar Heels are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games as a home underdog.
  • Tar Heels are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games following a straight up win.
  • Road team is 4-0 ATS in their last 4 meetings.

Expert Prediction

  • Notre Dame 35, North Carolina 31

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