Adams, Irish too much for Tar Heels
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — Josh Adams ran for 118 yards, including a 73-yard touchdown, and No. 21 Notre Dame beat North Carolina 33-10 on Saturday.
Deon McIntosh added 124 yards rushing and two scores for the Fighting Irish (5-1), who played without starting quarterback Brandon Wimbush due to a right foot injury.
Wimbush was on the sideline as the No. 2 QB behind Ian Book, though the Fighting Irish had no trouble surpassing the win total from a frustrating 2016 season.
Book threw for a score and had two interceptions, one coming after Notre Dame reached the UNC 18 to end the Irish’s perfect red-zone season conversion rate.
Notre Dame finished with 487 yards, 341 coming on the ground.
“We needed some resolve and some mental toughness,” Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly said, “and we showed that today.”
Chazz Surratt threw a 25-yard touchdown pass to Anthony Ratliff-Williams before halftime in the only noteworthy offensive play for the Tar Heels (1-5). North Carolina didn’t crack 200 total yards until late in the third quarter and finished with 265.
“It comes down to me as the head coach putting them in a position to be successful,” UNC coach Larry Fedora said. “And I haven’t found a way to make that happen yet.”
Notre Dame: The Fighting Irish certainly can lean on their sturdy ground game. They entered ranked second nationally with 20 rushing touchdowns, third in yards per carry (7.14) and seventh in rushing yards per game (301.4). It certainly offered unflashy reliability Saturday, particularly with steady rain during much of the game.
UNC: The Tar Heels have been in this position before under sixth-year coach Larry Fedora, starting 1-5 in 2013 before running off five straight wins and winning a bowl game. But matching that seems beyond this year’s group, which entered the year with inexperience throughout a traditionally strong offensive unit and has been hammered since by injuries. That list grew again Saturday, with starting punter Tom Sheldon leaving after the first with an unspecified injury and starting safety Donnie Miles exiting in the third with an apparent right arm injury.