Nov 27, 2020; Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA; North Carolina Tar Heels running back Michael Carter (8) runs as Notre Dame Fighting Irish linebacker Shayne Simon (33) and safety Kyle Hamilton (14) defend in the first quarter at Kenan Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

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No. 2 Notre Dame pulls away from No. 25 UNC

No. 2 Notre Dame held No. 25 North Carolina’s high-powered offense without a second-half point and Kyren Williams scored two touchdowns in the Fighting Irish’s 31-17 victory Saturday in Chapel Hill, N.C.

Williams gained 124 yards on 23 carries, including a clinching scoring run from 1 yard out with 1:20 to play.

Notre Dame quarterback Ian Book completed 23 of 33 passes for 279 yards and a touchdown. He also ran for 48 yards.

The result was a significant accomplishment for the Irish (9-0, 8-0 Atlantic Coast Conference), who earlier in the week were slotted at No. 2 in the first College Football Playoff rankings of the season. They have remaining games against Syracuse at home and a makeup game at Wake Forest, needing to win one of those to clinch a spot in the ACC championship game.

The Irish took their first lead on receiver Ben Skowronek’s 13-yard touchdown run in the third quarter, completing a 97-yard drive. They had a chance to stretch the lead later in the quarter, but Jonathan Doerer missed a 32-yard field-goal attempt.

Williams picked up 67 rushing yards on the final drive, which covered 89 yards.

North Carolina (6-3, 6-3) is 0-28 all-time against teams ranked in the top three nationally.

Tar Heels quarterback Sam Howell was 17-for-27 for 211 yards and one touchdown. He also ran for a TD.

After Notre Dame punted to cap the game’s first possession, the teams combined to produce touchdowns on four consecutive possessions.

Howell threw 6 yards to Emery Simmons, who caught his first touchdown pass of the season. It was the seventh time in nine games that the Tar Heels scored a touchdown on their first possession of a game.

Notre Dame answered with Williams’ 2-yard touchdown run. Howell ran 1 yard for a TD, then Book passed 14 yards to Williams to make it 14-14 before the first quarter ended.

North Carolina’s last two possessions of the first half began inside its 5-yard line. On the second of those, the Tar Heels converted on third-and-18 and third-and-20, the latter pick-up coming courtesy of a targeting call and subsequent ejection of Notre Dame defensive back Kyle Hamilton.

North Carolina managed a 42-yard field goal from Grayson Atkins with 1:10 remaining in the half. The Irish pulled even on Doerer’s 32-yarder on the last snap of the half.

–Field Level Media

Field Level Media
Sport Writer & Editor
FLM has a North American focus while tying into regional and hyper-local resources – providing the ability to distribute compelling content through the writing of professional journalists. As the U.S. sports content provider to dozens of digital and print media publishers through strategic partnerships with the likes of Reuters and Nielsen Sports, FLM covers the nuts and bolts with a breaking news desk and game event coverage.

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