Saturday's Keys

The temperature is advertised to be pretty cold Saturday. Good thing for the fans, they need only stay for a half. By the third quarter, No. 9 Notre Dame should be in cruise control against an overmatched North Carolina team.

This game might have been scary if John Bunting was told he was being fired at the end of the season this week. But that happened last week, and the Tar Heels (1-7) had a spirited effort against No. 22 Wake Forest at home, before losing, 24-17. The Irish (7-1) catch North Carolina right when they thought things couldn't get any worse.

Here are the keys to the game.

1. Notre Dame head coach Charlie Weis mentioned that special teams could be an area where an underdog could try and make up some ground. If the Irish avoid big returns from the Tar Heels and win the field-position battle, North Carolina will be stuck in a huge hole.

2. The Irish need another dominant effort on offense. The team rolled up a season-high 471 yards of offense last weekend against Navy. Quinn and company need to keep the momentum going against another weak defense, posting over 500 yards of offense to impress the voters.

3. Get good experience for the young guys. The Irish should be up big early. This is the perfect opportunity for Weis to clear the bench and play the young guys on the offensive line. Get James Aldridge and Munir Prince more action. Let the special teams players like Raeshon McNeil and Sergio Brown get reps on defense.

Prediction: Notre Dame 42, North Carolina 7: It could be worse, but we all know Weis doesn't like to run it up.

Offensive MVP: None of the starters should play long enough to solidify this. Darius Walker will gain 100 yards in a little over two quarters.

Defensive MVP: Victor Abiamiri will get to know Cam Sexton and Joe Dailey real well. Both North Carolina quarterbacks will be sacked by the Irish senior.


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