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North Carolina at No. 11 Notre Dame: Preview, How to Watch

The Irish will be without All-American safety Kyle Hamilton when they host the unranked Tar Heels in South Bend.
North Carolina and Notre Dame logos side-by-side


Notre Dame looks to win its third straight following its first loss of the season when the No. 11 Irish host North Carolina on Saturday at Notre Dame Stadium.

The Irish defeated Virginia Tech on the road heading into their bye week then came out the other side with a 31-16 victory against rival USC at home.

Notre Dame (6-1) has dominated unranked opponents, winning 37 straight dating back to the 2016 season for the longest active streak in the FBS. The Irish will look to extend their streak against the Tar Heels (4-3) without All-American safety Kyle Hamilton, who will miss the game because of a knee injury he suffered against the Trojans. Hamilton has three of Notre Dame's 11 interceptions and is a game-breaker for the Irish defense.

Notre Dame defensive coordinator Marcus Freeman will rely on D.J. Brown and TaRiq Bracy to fill in for Hamilton like they did last week. Brown, a career reserve, performed well with a team-high seven tackles along with JD Bertrand, Bo Bauer, and Bracy, who also had a fourth-quarter fumble recovery.

To help out Brown and Bracy, Freeman will look to defensive end Isaiah Foskey to pressure quarterback Sam Howell. Foskey is tied for third in the nation with eight sacks this season, which are the most sacks since Jerry Tillery and Julian Okwara had eight in 2018. Howell, lauded as a first-round prospect, has thrown for 1,851 yards and 18 touchdowns with only six interceptions this season. He's also rushed for 493 yards and five touchdowns. Last season, the Irish kept Howell to a season-low 211 yards (17 for 27) and one touchdown along with only two yards on the ground and one score.

Jack Coan will lead the Irish offense after a strong performance against USC, throwing 20-of-28 for 189 yards and one touchdown. Notre Dame offensive coordinator Tommy Rees used a quicker tempo in his game plan with Coan and Tyler Buchner at quarterback last week, with the latter looking more poised in the pocket. Coan has the starting job as Buchner continues to sub in as a change of pace due to his mobility.

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The Tar Heels are coming off a bye week following a 45-42 home victory over Miami. Howell scored four touchdowns, two through the air and two on the ground, and Ty Chandler ran for two scores. Chandler gained 104 yards on the ground on 18 attempts. Josh Downs had a 45-yard reception to extend his touchdown streak to eight games dating to last season.

Series History

Notre Dame is 19-2 in the all-time series against UNC, including a 12-0 mark in South Bend. The Tar Heels' two wins came in Chapel Hill: 12-7 in 1960 and 29-24 in 2008.


Spread: -3.5 ND

Over/Under: 62.5

How to Watch

What: North Carolina at No. 11 Notre Dame

When: 6:30 PM CT, Saturday

Where: Notre Dame Stadium; South Bend, Ind.