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  • Writer's pictureBlake Holzgrafe

OCTOBER 30, 2021: Notre Dame Fighting Irish v. North Carolina Tar Heels

Hey Golfers, check out this challenging Par 3. Measuring 229 from the tips of the Championship Tee and just 137 from the closest of the five tees, the tee shot must carry a waste area to a tangerine shaped green.

Oops, wrong sport! That’s a Tar Heel!!

OCTOBER 30, 2021

Notre Dame Stadium

Notre Dame Fighting Irish


North Carolina Tar Heels

Mack Brown brings the uber-disappointing North Carolina Tar Heels to Notre Dame Stadium for a game under the lights. Ranked in the top 10 in pre-season rankings, the Tar Heels laid an egg in game one against the Virginia Tech Hokies. Appropriate enough against the Hokies f/k/a the Turkeys. The “Turkeys” scrambled the rankings and the Tar Heels have yet to recover as they bring a 4-3 reord to the encounter.

The Tar Heels are led by pre-season hyped, Heisman Trophy candidate Sam Howell who can certainly sling that pigskin and carry it with significant positive gains as well. Would you believe he could have a 1,000 yard season among his scrambles, QB draws, read option runs (yes, better than Coan, but Buchner, not so much) and some wildcat runs. Unfortunately, Sam the slinger needs some slingees to snag Sam’s slung projectiles. Plus, Howell has been sacked so many times as the protective island supposedly created by the experienced Tar Heel O-line collapses that Sam must feel marooned like that other Howell, Thurston Howell III.

There is one soon-to-be similarity between Sam and Thurston. Following the 2022 NFL draft Sam, like Thurston, will be a millionaire!!

This, Irish fans, is NOT the picture you will want to see Saturday night. Through 7 games, Sam is completing 61% of his pass attempts for 1,821 yards, 18 touchdowns, 6 interceptions and 27 sacks, and has carried the ball for 494 yards and a 5.1 yard average (yes, that 1,000 yarder could happen).

The Tar Heels lost significant offensive weapons from the 2020 team. Really good receivers (Dyami Brown and Dazz Newsome [we knew some catches dazzled]) and really good running backs (Michael Carter and Javonte Williams with over 2,350 yards- Yikes!). But Sam is back and the O-line is back with 111 combined starts (Oh would the Irish not like its 2020 O-line back?!?), so the results should be good. Not!! For North Carolina fandom, those 111 combined starts have not produced the desired 2021 results. The Tar Heels are well below the 41.7 average points per game enjoyed in 2020. And already 27 sacks in just 7 2021 games!!!

Despite the disappointing 2021 season to date, there will be 11 Tar Heels on offense. Sam, of course is 1 of the 11. He will be on the lookout for his primary receivers, speedy Josh Downs (#10) with 60 receptions and a nearly 14 yard average per catch, and Tight Ends Kamari Morales (#88) and Garrett Walston (#84). The primary runners are Ty Chandler (#19) who is averaging 5.5 yards per carry and Caleb Hood (#4) who is averaging 5.9 yards per carry.

The North Carolina fandom legitimately could expect a solid 2021 defense with 10 returning starters. Yes, 10, count them, not one, not two, not three, not four, not five, not six, not seven, not eight, not nine, but TEN returning starters. The results to date?

Overall rank #91

Third down defense #83

Rushing defense #79

Rushing TDs allowed #87

Yards per carry #74

Yards per pass attempt #75

Pass completion percentage #75

Four of the Irish opponents this season rank in the top 28 for overall defense – Wisconsin (#2) Cincinnati (#9) Purdue (#12) and Toledo (#28).

Someone has to make the tackles for the Tar Heels. The leading Tar Heels tacklers are Ja’Qurious (#0) [That is his uniform number not the number of his tackles!!] and Jeremiah Gemmel (#44). The Tar Heels have 14 Sacks with Myles Murphy (#8) leading the way with 4.



You know, if football was a poultry-based game and Notre Dame Stadium was a hen house, the Irish could be in big trouble for the Tar Heels have not one but two foxes on the defense, and ready to make quick work of the hen house. Those two foxes are Tomon (#12) and Tomari (#56). [Please note this paragraph was added under duress, the duress triggered by two SLY FOXES. And feel free to hit the “Delete” key for this paragraph!!



Tar Heel opponents are averaging 28.9 points per game. Read on as it says here that the Irish will exceed that figure by double digits!!!

The Tar Heels also field Special Teams. The term “Special” is not always an accurate description of performance. Such as the Tar Heels kicker, Grayson Atkins (#17), is just 6 for 10 on the season, although three of the four misses have been beyond 50 yards. With a much more accurate use of “Special” the Tar Heels have blocked three punts/kicks. That is pretty darn


As for the Irish defense, there are by no means 10 returning staters. The 2020 to 2021 losses were significant (including, of course, D co-ordinator Clark Lea) with Jeremiah Owusu-Koromoah, Daelin Hayes, Ade Ogundeji and Shaun Crawford moving on.

Replacements have been pretty good, with Isaiah Foskey (#7), JD Bertrand (#27), Cam Hart (#5 ), and the Ademilolas (#9 & 57) certainly “fitting the bill”.

And, speaking of “fitting the bill”, the Irish have a new replacement need!!

Hamilton’s originally described “fat pad” injury has him out for the Tar Heels, and speculation has it that he may have played his last game for the Irish! Argh! Oh no! Ugh! Can’t be! Boo Hoo! Hate it! Woe! Doomsday! Darn! Phooey! Oh heck! Crap! Damn!


Before that unfortunate injury, Kyle repeatedly Saw Buck linebacker Foskey wreak havoc on opposing offenses.[1]

In the 2020 Irish/Tar Heels tilt, Kyle missed much of the game due to a “targeting” personal foul. CJ Brown filled in admirably and will have to do so again this year along with Houston Griffith, who, whether fairly or not, is often the target of unhappy Irish fans for his missed tackles, missed assignments, poor angles, contact avoidance, and coverage blunders not to mention his responsibility for causing global warming, inflation, supply chain problems and immigration issues. Not to worry Irish fans, to paraphrase Astronaut Jack Swigert, it says here “In Houston we have no problem!”

In our Trojan commentary, we wrote that “We shall see if the insertion of the size and athleticism of Joe Alt (#84)

and the size and strength of Andrew Kristofic (#73)

will provide continued improvement”.

The answer was a resounding “Yessiree!!” And how about the style points from this fan’s #1 man, Kyren Williams.

He Got Styles Points! As does ………

……………Lorenzo!!!!!! Styles that is!

Keep your eyes open for Lorenzo’s classmate, Deon Sanders, oops, Colzie. But he figures to be just as exciting a player as “Neon Deon” was. And if you really pay attention, you will know that it is not true that “a picture is worth a thousand words”. Deon is not (#18) but rather (#16).

Now read on for the prediction …….

Notre Dame 41

North Carolina 17


Here is your Irish Trivia Question for this week.

Brian Kelly now holds the record for the most wins by an Irish Football Head Coach. Who did the Irish defeat for Kelly’s first Irish Victory?

Here are your Irish Trivia Answers from last week.

The 2021 Notre Dame/USC game will be the 92nd between the schools. In what year was the first game between the Irish and Trojans played? 1926 Who were the head coaches for those two teams in that game? Knute Rockne and Howard Jones Which team won that first game? Notre Dame Which team has won more of the matchups? Notre Dame

And, our hearts forever . . .

1Take a peek at the $10 bill that triggered the slang term “Sawbuck”.

Do you see the sawbucks?

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