No. 21 Notre Dame at North Carolina
Time: 2:30 PM (CT), Saturday
Spread: ND -14
Odds c/o 5dimes
Independent Notre Dame is 4-1 on the season as winners of its past three contests over Miami-Ohio, Michigan State and Boston College. Following this matchup against unranked North Carolina, three of Notre Dame’s next four opponents are AP-ranked. This week the Irish are 14-point favorites on the road at UNC, in a game with a very high betting total of 60.5 points according to college football oddsmakers at bookmaker 5dimes.
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Notre Dame has been dominant in its past three games, winning by a combined total of 139 to 55, with no opponent scoring more than 20 in any contest (Boston College). The Irish did lose to AP-ranked Georgia in Week 2, but that was its lone loss as it enters the tough part of its 2017 schedule now. Brandon Wimbrush has thrown for 783 yards, but has completed just 51.9 percent of his passes and is averaging under six yards per completion. He has six TDs and two interceptions, and a humble passer rating of 114.2.
Leading rusher Josh Adams has been dominant, though. His team-high 73 carries have gone for 658 rushing yards including a 73-yard TD rush among his four touchdowns. Wimbrush has been good moving the football, too, with 5.9 yards per carry on his 68 attempts, and a team-high eight rushing TDs.
The Irish have scored 20 rushing TDs, but have just six receiving TDs. Equanimeous St. Brown leads the team with two of those, and also leads the team in total catches (14) and yardage (202). Kicker Justin Yoon is 6 of 9 on field goal attempts and is just 3 of 6 beyond 40-yards but he is a perfect 27 of 27 on extra points. Last week, Wimbrush threw just 7 of 18 (38.9 percent) for 119 yards and had 36 rushing yards on 11 carries, but the Irish still throughly dominated Miami of Ohio thanks to Adams rushing for 159 yards on just eight carries, with two touchdowns. The Irish had 333 rushing yards in the game and an 8.5 yard per carry average.
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North Carolina is struggling at just 1-4 this season. It has only won over Old Dominion, with four losses to California, Louisville, Duke and Georgia Tech, most recently. The Tar Heels fell 33-7 to the Yellow Jackets last week, as Georgia Tech controlled the clock and the game, rushing for 403 total yards and three rushing TDs. Starting Tech QB TaQuon Marshall threw just 10 passes as GT rushed 66 times in the game. North Carolina managed just 247 total yards on offense, and Chazz Surratt averaged just 4.7 yards per completion on 18 of 30 passing.
Surratt has thrown for 988 yards on the season, and he has rushed for 147 yards on 57 carries with four TDs. Jordon Brown and Michael Carter each have rushed for 200 yards or more through five games, but neither averages more than five yards per carry. Carter has five rushing TDs. North Carolina’s leading wide receiver Austin Proehl has 16 catches for 270 yards and a TD, and the Tar Heels have scored six receiving TDs on the 2017 season.
Notre Dame recorded each of its last three wins by 20 or more points and that was the first time the Irish had done that since 2005. Tar Heels linebacker Cole Holcolmb has been a beast on defense with 43 tackles to lead the team. Notre Dame is 22 of 22 in the red zone this season, and it has so many weapons that should make a big difference as it prevails by at least the two-touchdowns college football oddsmakers project.