Pyne clicks as Notre Dame powers past North Carolina

Sep 24, 2022, 4:43 AM | Updated: 6:21 pm

North Carolina quarterback Drake Maye (10) fumbles the ball and Notre Dame defensive lineman Justin...

North Carolina quarterback Drake Maye (10) fumbles the ball and Notre Dame defensive lineman Justin Ademilola (9), right, recovers it during the second half of an NCAA college football game in Chapel Hill, N.C., Saturday, Sept. 24, 2022. (AP Photo/Chris Seward)

(AP Photo/Chris Seward)

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) — Drew Pyne threw three touchdown passes and Notre Dame finally clicked on offense in a 45-32 victory over North Carolina on Saturday.

Audric Estime rushed for two touchdowns and 134 yards and Chris Tyree ran for 80 yards and a score for the Fighting Irish (2-2). Pyne completed 24 of 34 passes for 289 yards.

“We focused all week on executing,” Pyne said. “We scored on a lot of drives and it all starts with the O-linemen.”

The outcome resulted in the first road win under first-year coach Marcus Freeman.

The way the Irish attacked offensively by relying on the offensive line is how Freeman envisions a Notre Dame offense.

“It’s what you hope Notre Dame football is going to be about,” Freeman said. “We’re preparing better. The result of that preparation is what you saw today.”

The Tar Heels (3-1) were denied their first 4-0 start to a season since 1997.

North Carolina quarterback Drake Maye threw five touchdown passes, two going to Josh Downs in the first half and two more – covering 144 yards — to Antoine Green in the second half. Maye was 17-of-32 for 301 yards.

“It is a big learning experience,” Maye said. “We didn’t come out ready to play football in the second half. Big games like this, we’ve got to show up.”

With 576 yards of total offense, the Irish produced lots of positives.

“The beauty of it is there is always room to do better,” Freeman said.

Pyne’s favorite target was tight end Michael Mayer, who caught seven balls for 88 yards.

“Getting the ball in his hands is something our team can really benefit from,” Pyne said.


Notre Dame, which has a scheduling agreement with the Atlantic Coast Conference and played as a league member during the pandemic-impacted 2020 season, has won 25 consecutive regular-season games against ACC opponents. This was the first of four meetings against ACC members this year.


After eight penalties a week ago against California, Notre Dame was flagged for just five infractions for 46 yards. But a targeting call with 11:46 remaining against captain JD Bertrand proved costly.

The linebacker, who sat out the first half Saturday because of a targeting call a week earlier, will have to miss the first half of the Brigham Young game. Freeman said there needs to be an emphasis on proper tackling technique during the extra week before the Irish hit the field again.

“We have to understand that’s the way the refs call it,” Freeman said.


Notre Dame: The Fighting Irish unleashed a balanced offense, producing more than 285 yards both on the ground and in the air. After three games with tight margins into the fourth quarters, this turned out to be a relatively stress-free final 15 minutes.

North Carolina: The Tar Heels were coming off an open week, but they didn’t solve defensive woes that threatened to derail them in their previous two games. They’re done with non-conference games, so they’ll have to sort out the defensive shortcomings in ACC play.


Notre Dame has more work to do before reappearing in the Top 25, but this was a strong step. The Irish spent the first two weeks in the Top 10 and then tumbled out of the poll following a home loss to Marshall.

North Carolina had moved just a few spots away from the Top 25, and a victory Saturday might have lifted the Tar Heels into the rankings. Instead, they’re headed in the other direction.


Notre Dame: Oct. 8 vs. Brigham Young at Las Vegas.

North Carolina: Hosts Virginia Tech on Saturday.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Associated Press

Ex-Packer Guion gets 1 year for domestic violence assault

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — Former Green Bay Packers defensive tackle Letroy Guion was sentenced to one year in jail after pleading no contest in a domestic violence assault at his home last fall. Brown County Circuit Court Judge Thomas Walsh also ordered Guion on Tuesday to serve three years’ probation and complete a domestic […]

1 year ago

Joe Jarzynka...

Associated Press

Durant eager for Suns debut vs. Hornets after knee injury

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Kevin Durant has been through quite a bit during his 15-year NBA career — but joining a new team midway through the season is a new one for the 13-time All-Star. The 34-year-old Durant doesn’t seem all that worried. Durant makes his highly anticipated Phoenix Suns debut on Wednesday night against […]

1 year ago

FILE - Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores stands on the sideline during the second half of an N...

Associated Press

Judge: NFL coach can press discrimination claims in court

NEW YORK (AP) — NFL Coach Brian Flores can pursue some of his discrimination claims against the league and its teams in court rather than through arbitration, a judge ruled Wednesday. The written decision by Judge Valerie Caproni in Manhattan was issued months after lawyers for the league tried to get the lawsuit moved to […]

1 year ago

Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Alex Stalock cools off in the first period during an NHL hockey game ...

Associated Press

Kane trade reinforces hard reality of Blackhawks rebuild

CHICAGO (AP) — After days of speculation, the harsh reality of the Chicago Blackhawks’ situation was reinforced by one move in a flurry of transactions ahead of the NHL trade deadline. Showtime is over, at least in Chicago, and a seemingly bright future is, well, way off in the distance. The reverberations of Chicago’s decision […]

1 year ago

FILE -  Yves Jean-Bart, president of the Haitian Football Federation, wearing a protective face mas...

Associated Press

Disgraced ex-Haitian soccer president announces he’s back

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) — Haiti’s former soccer federation president whose lifetime ban from sport over sexual abuse allegations was overturned last month announced Wednesday that he is reclaiming his position. Yves Jean-Bart’s defiant announcement could lead to a standoff with FIFA, which already has appointed an emergency management committee to lead the Haitian Football Association […]

1 year ago

FILE - Green Bay Packers' Aaron Rodgers walks off the field after an NFL football game against the ...

Associated Press

Rodgers says decision on future will come ‘soon enough’

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — Aaron Rodgers says he will make a decision on his future “soon enough” as the four-time MVP quarterback ponders whether to play next season and if his future remains with the Green Bay Packers. Rodgers, 39, discussed his future while speaking on an episode of the “Aubrey Marcus Podcast” that […]

1 year ago

Pyne clicks as Notre Dame powers past North Carolina