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Study Hall: Notre Dame 50, North Carolina 43

Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

Notre Dame 50, North Carolina 43

Confused? Visit the Advanced Stats glossary here.

Basics North Carolina Notre Dame Nat'l Avg
Total Plays 84 81
Close Rate (non-garbage time) 100.0%
Avg Starting FP 29.0 30.9 29.8
Possessions 14 16
Scoring Opportunities*
9 7
Points Per Opportunity 4.22 7.00 4.70
Leverage Rate** 72.6% 65.4% 68.3%
Close S&P*** 0.546 0.586 0.507
* A scoring opportunity occurs when an offense gets a first down inside the opponent's 40 (or scores from outside the 40).
** Leverage Rate = Standard Downs / (Standard Downs + Passing Downs)
*** When using IsoPPP, the S&P formula is (0.8*Success Rate) + (0.2*IsoPPP)
EqPts (what's this?) North Carolina Notre Dame
Total 34.9 37.2
Rushing 12.4 16.4
Passing 22.5 20.8
Success Rate (what's this?) North Carolina Notre Dame Nat'l Avg
All (close) 45.2% 50.6% 42.0%
Rushing (close) 38.1% 52.4% 43.4%
Passing (close) 52.4% 48.7% 40.6%
Standard Downs 45.9% 58.5% 47.3%
Passing Downs 43.5% 35.7% 30.6%
IsoPPP (what's this?) North Carolina Notre Dame Nat'l Avg
All (close) 0.92 0.91 0.85
Rushing (close) 0.77 0.74 0.73
Passing (close) 1.02 1.10 0.99
Standard Downs 0.85 0.87 0.77
Passing Downs 1.11 1.04 1.14
Line Stats North Carolina Notre Dame Nat'l Avg
Line Yards/Carry (what's this?) 2.57 3.39 2.92
Std. Downs Sack Rt. 0.0% 0.0% 4.7%
Pass. Downs Sack Rt. 0.0% 5.3% 7.3%
Turnovers North Carolina Notre Dame
Turnovers 2 3
Turnover Points (what's this?) 9.4 15.8
Turnover Margin North Carolina +1
Exp. TO Margin North Carolina +0.22
TO Luck (Margin vs. Exp. Margin) North Carolina +0.78
TO Points Margin North Carolina +6.4 points
Situational North Carolina Notre Dame
Q1 S&P 0.511 0.552
Q2 S&P 0.533 0.770
Q3 S&P 0.580 0.502
Q4 S&P 0.572 0.573
1st Down S&P 0.530 0.630
2nd Down S&P 0.576 0.466
3rd Down S&P 0.553 0.655
Projected Scoring Margin: North Carolina by 4.2
Actual Scoring Margin: Notre Dame by 7

The yardage and field position were almost even, and UNC actually won the turnover battle and created more scoring opportunities. Once again, this game seemed to come down to finishing. Every time Notre Dame crossed UNC's 40, the Irish also crossed UNC's end zone. Meanwhile, UNC settled for two field goals (missing one) and threw a dreadful fourth-quarter interception. There's your difference.

And let's go ahead and say it: I was fooled by UNC. I know people get sucked in by the Heels each year, and I usually resist. But I thought offense and special teams would be good enough to overcome mediocre defense, and that UNC would be a solid top-40, or potentially much better, team.

Instead, the Heels' defense has been awful, and special teams has been worse. UNC can move the ball, but it has to finish at a high level all the time because its opponent is probably going to be moving the ball, hot-knife-through-butter style. This was the third time in four games that UNC has allowed 50+ points, and the fourth game in that batch (allowing 34 points to Virginia Tech) was almost as bad.

I can also say this: I'm not sold on Notre Dame as a national title contender ... but nobody's really sold on Notre Dame, so I guess I don't have to defend myself on that one just yet. Beat FSU, and we'll talk.