Thursday, October 05, 2017 12:40 pm
No. 21 Notre Dame visits North Carolina seeking 5-1 start
No. 21 Notre Dame (4-1) at North Carolina (1-4), Saturday 3:30 p.m. ET (ABC)
Line: Notre Dame by 15.
Series record: Notre Dame leads 17-2.
WHAT'S AT STAKE
Notre Dame is looking for a 5-1 start, which would surpass its win total in a frustrating 2016 season. The Tar Heels are trying to stop a slide fueled by inexperience and a long line of injuries.
Notre Dame brings the nation's No. 7 rushing attack (301.4 yards) to face a run defense that ranks 112th in the country. North Carolina is allowing 221.8 yards per game and just shy of 5 yards per carry. "They've been very effective running the ball," UNC coach Larry Fedora said. "So they've got to be doing a great job up front."
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Notre Dame: RB Josh Adams. The junior is leading the Irish's strong ground game. He ranks seventh nationally by averaging 131.6 yards to go with four rushing scores. That includes a 229-yard day against Boston College in Week 3.
UNC: WR Anthony Ratliff-Williams. The sophomore has the potential to take on the lead role with top receiver Austin Proehl lost for the season with an injury. He had five catches for 125 yards and a touchdown against Duke, and has proven to be an explosive kickoff returner.
FACTS & FIGURES
North Carolina has been struggling dating to the final month of last season. The Tar Heels have lost seven of nine games since last beating Georgia Tech last November, the program's last win against a power-conference opponent. ... Notre Dame QB Brandon Wimbush was using a walking boot on his right foot this past week, but coach Brian Kelly has said he expects Wimbush to be OK for the game. ... The Fighting Irish have scored (field goals and touchdowns) on all 22 red-zone opportunities, making them one of 12 FBS teams to be perfect on the season. ... The Tar Heels had 13 players on last week's injury report with season-ending injuries.
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