SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) Notre Dame’s choppy offense finally found smoother sailing – at least for one week.
Now, quarterback Drew Pyne needs to help the Fighting Irish perform at a high level on Saturday when they visit North Carolina (3-0) and a defense that’s ranked among the nation’s worst.
”We definitely executed together a lot more often, but we’re still not quite where we want to be yet,” Notre Dame center Zeke Correll said, critiquing last weekend’s 24-17 victory over California. ”We’re still focused on building off of each performance and improving.”
The win finally provided some glimmers of hope after the struggles that led to back-to-back losses to start the season and were compounded when starting quarterback Tyler Buchner suffered a season-ending shoulder injury.
Pyne replaced Buchner and won his first career start, which also gave first-year coach Marcus Freeman his first career win.
But the Irish (1-2) still find themselves in potentially troubled waters. A loss Saturday would give Notre Dame its first 1-3 start since a 4-8 finish in 2016. A win would put the Irish back at .500 and give them another confidence boost before playing three ranked teams – No. 19 BYU, No. 5 Clemson and No. 7 Southern California – later in the season.
The most glaring problem has been the struggling offense, which ranks No. 114 in total yards (300.3 per game) and No. 115 in scoring (18.3 points). North Carolina, meanwhile, has been outscoring opponents from the Group of Five or the Football Championship Subdivision while their defense has struggled mightily. It ranks No. 123 in total yards allowed (486.3) and 119th in scoring defense (37.7).
For Notre Dame, which rushed for a season-best 147 yards against Cal, squaring off against a run defense that allows 193 yards per game offers a chance to control the clock and limit…
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Author : The Associated Press
Publish date : 2022-09-21 22:13:28
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