GOLDEN CHRONICLES OF NOTRE DAME: The Tar Heels were searched and destroyed (By Omar Ureña)


The kickoff was waiting in Chapel Hill, the march continued to the beat of Metallica, the Irish were heading to war through the tunnel hearing the bells ringing in their hearts.

Make his fight

On the hill in the early day

Constant chill deep inside

Notre Dame’s Tommy Tremble (24) warms up for their game against North Carolina at Kenan Stadium in Chapel Hill, N.C. (ACC Media)

In an unforgettable 2020 season challenged by Covid 19, the Irish defense brought their fierceness to this ACC duel in the top 25. No.2 Notre Dame was about to fight No.19 North Carolina at Kenan Memorial Stadium.  The last time the Irish and the Tar Heels entered their game while in the Top 25 was September 30, 1950. No. 20 North Carolina fell 14-7 to number one ranked Notre Dame.

It was time to grind metal. The Irish were facing the Tar Heels offensive stars, QB, Sam Howell, who in the last 4 games passed for 370 yards and 14 touchdowns and running back Javonte Williams, who rushed for more than 100 yards in five of the last  six games. The dangerous offense moved fast and smooth like blue jazz notes. On 2nd and 15, Sam Howell threw a 51-yard pass to Dyami Brown, who landed at the Irish 1-yard line that set up a run from Sam Howell for an early touchdown. It was shocking when the sounds of metal suddenly hit the lights.

For whom the bell tolls

Time marches on

For whom the bell tolls 

North Carolina’s Emery Simmons (0) celebrates after scoring on a six-yard pass reception from quarterback Sam Howell in the first quarter against Notre Dame (ACC Media)

Irish offensive Master Tommy Rees was eager to show his soldiers leading the force of the Four Horsemen of Notre Dame, a distinctive group of players ready to scream as they collided with enemies.

Cause now you’ve got the fight of your life

The Horsemen are drawing nearer

On leather steeds they ride

The former Irish quarterback placed three of his tight ends on the right side in the red zone, Brock Wright (89), Tommy Tremble (24) and Michael Mayer (87) swept the defense and Kyren Williams ran 2 yards for a tying touchdown, the game was 7-7.

Notre Dame running back Kyren Williams scores a first half touchdown against North Carolina in ACC football action (ACC Media)

North Carolina scored and the Irish felt the fire, they came back hungry for points at the end of the first quarter, Ian Book threw the ball to Kyren Williams who escaped 4 yards to score his first receiving touchdown in his career.  The game was tied at 14 and the Irish defense needed to step up in the second quarter.

Still alive through the raging glow

Gone insane

From the pain that they surely know

There were Irish ready to sacrifice their bodies on the battlefield, LB Marist Liufau (35) and LB Drew White (40) were on a mission of destruction.  Adetokunbo Ogundeji (91) had no remorse and was fiercely beating Tar Heels. The new Irish blood entered the field eager to tackle, freshman Rylie Mills was disciplined, stoic, guarding his lane. The blue and gold defense was a tackling machine. Coach Brian Kelly takes us there:

“Having a little bit of the time off and playing a prolific offense like North Carolina, it was a little bit like, I gave the analogy to our staff, coming out against a triple option. It was fast, we needed to acclimate a little bit.”

North Carolina quarterback Sam Howell (7) is sacked by Notre Dame’s Marist Liufau (35) and Drew White (40)

Bass and guitar energy exploded as Kyle Hamilton (14) made a tackle and his helmet crushed the Tar Heels receiver who was punished harshly, the intensity of the Hawaiian warrior turned into a “targeting” call and all of a sudden, Kyle  disappeared from the gridiron. Notre Dame’s secondary depth chart helped the Irish stay focused. It was the Irish cry of ‘Seek and Destroy’.

We are scanning the scene in the city tonight

We are looking for you to start up a fight

The defense made a big stop. Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah (6) was in a  ‘Blitzkrieg’ state of mind, tackling all over the stage, finishing the game leading the team with nine tackles. Both teams scored a field goal at the end of the first half. The Irish metal militia and the Tar Heel warriors went to the locker room tied at 17.

North Carolina’s Michael Carter (8) looks for running room against Notre Dame’s Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah (6) in the second quarter

As the third quarter began, anxieties subsided with metal knocks and collisions in the trenches.  Daelin Hayes (9) was performing at a high level, once again the leader of a group at Notre Dame fighting for equality just like their opponents on the field. North Carolina displayed texts on their jerseys for inspiration: Say their names, I Can’t Breathe, Equality, John 3:16, Peace. Myron Tagovailoa-Amosa (95) was once again fighting shoulder to shoulder with Hayes doing justice for all.  Isaiah Foskey (7) was searching, Justin Ademilola (19) made his first sack. The Irish defense was destroying the Tar Heels attack. The silence was loud in the stadium. For whom the bell tolls in Chapel Hill.

Kyren Williams (23)

Back in the goal zone, the Irish offense repositioned its three tight ends on the right side to open the way for Ben Skowronek (11) who ran 13 yards to score a touchdown that gave the country’s No. 2 the lead 24-17 at the half of the third quarter. The Notre Dame defense was ready to fight again, entering this show, North Carolina had averaged 28 points in the second half and the Irish defense burst the drums like Lars Ulrich and kept the Tar Heels  off the scoreboard in the second half.

Oh through the mist and the madness

We are trying to get the message to you 

Isaiah Foskey (7) and Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah

It was the first time in the pandemic that Tar Heels have been shutout  in either half. Coach Clark Lea is the defensive mind.  Brian Kelly was confident in the strategy prepared for this match.

“We had some things that they hadn’t seen before. We were able to take away some of their glance reads off the run-pass-option, which made it difficult for them in certain situations. And we were able to do it by moving our safeties around.”

Safeties and cornerbacks were sharpened for another blitzkrieg, Nick McCloud (4) was precise and powerful, D.J. Brown (12) contained wide receivers, and Shaun Crawford (20) showed his inner soul and played in pain while safety Houston Griffith (3) was an iron soldier fighting Tar Heels. 

I will be with thee

Bush of fire


Running red and strong

Down the nile

North Carolina’s Jeremiah Gemmell (44) stops Notre Dame’s Kyren Williams (23) (ACC Media)

Before this battle North Carolina averaged 43 points and 563 yards per game. The Irish defense rode the lightning and allowed the Tar Heels only 298 total yards. There was nowhere to go for the Tar Heels running backs who were chained with just 87 yards rushing, the fewest for them in a game since 2017. Going 9-0, the Fighting Irishmen continue on their way to the  ACC championship game after destroying one of the best offensive armies in the country.

    # 2 NOTRE DAME 31

    # 19 NORTH CAROLINA 17

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