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Drew Pyne has career day as Notre Dame knocks off North Carolina

Sep 24, 2022; Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA; North Carolina Tar Heels quarterback Drake Maye (10) is sacked by Notre Dame Fighting Irish defensive lineman Rylie Mills (99) in the first quarter at Kenan Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Drew Pyne established career-bests of 289 yards and three touchdowns as Notre Dame beat North Carolina 45-32 on the road in Chapel Hill on Saturday afternoon.

The win is the second straight for the Irish (2-2) after they started the season with a pair of losses. The Tar Heels (3-1) sustained their first blemish of the campaign.

Pyne — who completed 24 of 34 passes — was just one part of Notre Dame’s explosive offense attack that gained 35 first downs, which is the most for an Irish team in a single game since 1996. The Irish ran 51 times for 287 yards, a 5.6 yards per-carry average. Sophomore running back Audric Estime paced the ground game with a career-high 134 yards and two scores on 17 carries.

Estime is the first Irish back to rush for more than 100 yards in a single game since Kyren Williams did so last year against UNC, and Notre Dame’s 576 yards of total offense is the most they’ve had in a single game since having 591 in a 2019 win over New Mexico.

UNC’s Drake Maye threw for five touchdowns and 301 yards, but the Heels were plagued by mistakes.

The Tar Heels miscues included a fumble and nine penalties — one of which was an unsportsmanlike call against coach Mack Brown. North Carolina also had an ineffective run game that gained just 66 yards on 28 carries, an average of 2.4 yards per rush.

UNC did score first as Maye found Josh Downs on a 4-yard touchdown strike, but then Notre Dame scored 38 of the game’s next 45 points. The Heels scored one touchdown in the third quarter and two in the fourth, but couldn’t close the gap on the scoreboard in a meaningful way.

This was the third straight game that North Carolina gave up more than 420 yards of total offense.

Meanwhile, Notre Dame’s defense logged three sacks, three pass breakups, three QB hurries, and seven tackles for loss which added up to minus-30 yards.

–Field Level Media