Welcome to GameDay! The Fightin' Irish are East Coast trippin' to North Carolina to play the #19 UNC Tarheels. Fresh out of the College Football Playoff selection show these "two ACC" teams will meet up in a post Thanksgiving game at 3:30 PM on ABC. The Tarheels will be looking to play spoiler versus the Fightin' Irish. Mack Brown's team last year had the #2 offense and the #6 defense in the ACC. The only thing on UNC's mind is to beat the Fightin' Irish and possibly spoil there ACC Championship and College Football Playoff run on Friday Afternoon.
Coach Kelly Monday Press Conference
"We're playing a great football team in North Carolina, especially what we've seen from them the past few weeks. Extremely prolific on offense, a Hall of Fame coach in Mack Brown, looking forward to seeing Mack. He's a great friend. He has just done a great job of revitalizing this program and getting them to the level that they are today in a very short period of time."
"A very dynamic offense led by Sam Howell. Very balanced. Very, very big offensive line. The wide receiving core, Brown, Newsome, the depth there, Simmons, obviously. The running back situation is as talented as anybody in the country. Carter and Williams, I think Williams has got 18 touchdowns this year. It's just a fabulous offense, extremely well-coached, coach Longo does a great job. Defensively, they give you a lot of looks."
"They make it very difficult for you to get comfortable offensively. Attacking, aggressive. Chaz Surratt is an outstanding player. The Foxes, we've seen them for quite a few years. Again, well-deserving of where they are as one of the top teams in the ACC and it'll be a great challenge and a marquee matchup on the day after Thanksgiving on Friday. So, we'll have to play very, very well to come out with a victory."
Due to the foot surgery of Jarrett Pattersen and the appendectomy surgery for Tommy Kraemer, the outstanding offensive line will fill the gap with the next guys up, Zeke Correll and Josh Lugg. Coach Kelly addressed the changes below.
"Zeke Correll moves to the center position. Got a great deal of confidence in him. Zeke is a highly recruited player for us. We've been waiting for him to get his opportunity. He has been waiting, I guess, more importantly, and he's going to get that chance this weekend against North Carolina."
"Josh Lugg, as you know, played quite a bit of meaningful football for us last year at the tackle position. We'll move him into that slot at right guard. He was our probably our sixth guy there and he's ready to play and compete at a high level. So, lose a couple of really good players and we plug them in with two equally fine players and we are excited about their opportunities."
Keys To The Game
The Fightin' Irish will once again need to bring their absolute best. There will be no rest against the #7 ACC Tarheel defense. The Offensive line is already faced with the adversity of being down two linemen. The combination of Book to Skowronek is going to be a must in this game. These two hook up well on the road.
The offensive line is also going to need to make those holes for the running back crew. The need for an aerial and ground assault is what the Irish will need to put the Tarheels in the rear view mirror. Also look for Michael Mayer and Avery Davis to play a role in this one.
Believe it or not the Fightin' Irish have the second ranked defense in the ACC behind Pitt. But that doesn't matter to these guys. They know what they need to do and it's simple. Just get in the head of Sam Howell. They need to bring the same intensity that they brought against Boston College. ND shutting down the passing game will force the Tarheels to go to the running game and the Irish defense can limit that as well.
Below Shawn Crawford does a great job explaining what the Irish need to do against UNC.
The Guy's Picks
These picks are from our Pre-season pick'em before COVID 19 ruined the schedule.
Coaching match-up of the year, other than Saban versus Smart. UNC is a special match up for Ben. He got married the weekend of the ND UNC game in 2017. The bridal was comprised of various fans. They were all trying to enjoy the game. But UNC was giving ND fits at certain points of the game. UNC will play ND tough. They have a very respectable offense and defense and only getting better. Kids want to play for Mack Brown. Ben is calling a trap game. They are touted for as an ACC contender. The winner of this game plays Clemson.
Score 28-14 ND
Coming off the bye week, it's a Friday night game the day after Thanksgiving. UNC had the number two offense behind Clemson season and the number six defense in the ACC. A basketball school is turning into a football school. At this point the Fightin' Irish are playing an all-in game. UNC does not play Clemson so this is very important game for tiebreakers if it comes down to that. Need to be focused on getting to the ACC Championship. This game needs to be crisp all the way around.
Score 34-14 ND
The Wrap Up
The Fightin' Irish need a solid effort from all aspects of the game on Friday afternoon in North Carolina. No silly penalties that give UNC a feel good of keeping a drive alive and finishing with points. As the season winds down, the Fightin' Irish need to be peaking. UNC is a solid opponent and can give them a difficult time if they don't play a strong willed game. They need to continue on W.I.N (What's Important Now), because if they lose that focus their run for the ACC and CFP could take another unwanted path
Cheers and Go Irish!☘🏈🌩