Blue and Gold Illustrated

Oct. 9, 2017

Blue & Gold Illustrated: America's Foremost Authority on Notre Dame Football

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Page 36 of 55 OCT. 9, 2017 37 BY BRYAN DRISKELL NORTH CAROLINA RUNNING GAME VS. NOTRE DAME RUN DEFENSE The Tar Heels' ground game got off to a good start, rushing for 219 yards (4.8 per carry) in a 35‑30 setback to California in the season opener Sept. 2. In the third game, the UNC offense rushed for 254 yards (5.2 per attempt) and six touchdowns in a 53‑23 victory over Old Dominion Sept. 16. However, in between those two contests, Lou‑ isville held the Tar Heels to just 17 yards on 23 attempts. And during a 27‑17 loss to Duke Sept. 23, North Carolina's ground game was limited to merely 118 yards on 33 attempts — nearly half of which came on a 56‑yard touchdown run by red‑ shirt freshman quarterback Chazz Surratt. North Carolina running backs Jordon Brown and Michael Carter rushed for 41 yards on 16 attempts in the defeat versus Duke, and just 38 yards on 14 carries in the 47‑35 loss to Louisville Sept. 9. Brown, a sophomore, led the team with 228 yards through four games while Carter, a freshman, was second with 190 yards. Expected starting left guard Tommy Hatton, a redshirt sophomore, has been away from the team since the beginning of camp while dealing with personal issues. To make matters worse, starting right tackle William Sweet was lost for the season to an injury he sustained in North Carolina's win over Old Dominion. Notre Dame's run defense is improved over the previous three seasons in which its best perfor‑ mance was giving up 171.2 yards per game during the 2014 campaign. The Irish surrendered 151.5 yards per game and 3.9 yards per rush in their first four games this fall, which ranked 73rd and 67th in the country, respectively. Senior linebacker Nyles Morgan led the Irish with 34 tackles and was second with 3.5 tackles for loss. The strong play of junior nose tackle Jerry Tillery, who led the defensive line with 19 stops in four games, is a key reason for the improvement. Advantage: Notre Dame NORTH CAROLINA PASSING GAME VS. NOTRE DAME PASS DEFENSE The Tar Heels averaged 280.8 passing yards in its first four games, which ranked 35th nationally. The struggles up front have hindered the aerial attack, however, with UNC allowing nine sacks through four games. Graduate transfer Brandon Harris started the season at quarterback, but was quickly replaced by Surratt. The redshirt freshman completed 64.3 percent of his passes, and tossed five touchdowns with just one interception to start the season. Senior Austin Proehl — the son of former NFL wide receiver Ricky Proehl — led the Tar Heels in GAME PREVIEW: NORTH CAROLINA On PaPer Senior left tackle Bentley Spain has started at that spot since the beginning of the 2015 season, missing only four games due to injury. PHOTO BY JEFFREY A. CAMARATI/COURTESY UNC

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