CHAPEL HILL, NC – One week after the first CFP rankings came out, the second-ranked and undefeated Notre Dame Fighting Irish proved their worth in a big 31-17 road win at North Carolina.
Notre Dame (9-0), who is playing as a full conference member for the first time in their storied and illustrious history, kept their chances of a potential second showdown with defending ACC champion, Clemson behind an efficient performance by QB Ian Book.
While the stats may not tell the story as Book completed 23-33 passes for 279 yards and one touchdown, his poise, knack for making the right play and football IQ were on full display down in Chapel Hill.
Sophomore tailback Kyren Williams shouldered much of the Irish offensive load in carrying the ball 23 times for 124 yards and two touchdowns and senior wideout Javon McKinley made big plays in catching six passes for 135 yards.
The Irish defense also showed up as they hurried, hit and sacked Tarheels QB—and Heisman hopeful—Sam Howell six times, while holding him to 211 yards passing.
If there was a prime-time game that the Irish needed to win and show why they deserved to be ranked second in the CFP rankings, it was this one, as many have seemingly discarded their 47-40 OT win over a Clemson teams sans Heisman front-runner, Trevor Lawrence.
While many will never associate North Carolina football as primetime and glamourous, thanks to Mack Brown, the Tarheels football program are quickly showing that they are more than just a basketball school.
In regards to the Irish, if their 14-point road win over UNC, plus their earlier win over the Tigers are any indication, then their likely rematch with Clemson will likely be an instant classic.