Notre Dame v. North Carolina ’14 – Key Matchups

Everett Golson - Touchdown vs. Stanford
October 4, 2014: Notre Dame Fighting Irish quarterback Everett Golson (5) rolls to the outside during a football game between the Notre Dame Fighting Irish and Stanford Cardinals at Notre Dame Stadium in South Bend, IN.
(Photo: Zach Bolinger/Icon Sportswire

Notre Dame kept its undefeated season alive with a 17-14 win over Stanford last Saturday and will look to keep the momentum going when North Carolina visits South Bend.  The Irish will have to avoid a let-down in a potential trap game after an emotional win and a showdown with Florida State looming.  The Tar Heels defense has struggled mightily this season, which could provide an opportunity for the Irish offense to get back on track.  The Irish will have to respect the Tar Heels offense however, as it is averaging 36 points per game so far this season and has plenty of weapons.  The following are the key matchups for the Irish versus the Tar Heels:

Jaylon Smith versus Marquise Williams:  Irish linebacker Jaylon Smith will be responsible for shutting down yet another mobile quarterback in Marquise Williams.  Smith possesses the ability to contain Williams and limit the damage he can do on designed runs and scrambles as the Tar Heels quarterback runs often and has a team-high 243 yards rushing.  If Smith can keep Williams in the pocket it will allow the Irish to take advantage of a North Carolina offensive line that can be broken down.

Cody Riggs versus Ryan Switzer:  Irish cornerback Cody Riggs will face a unique challenge this week versus Tar Heels receiver Ryan Switzer.  Riggs has looked very good this year and has been aggressive in coverage, which symbolizes his confidence.  Switzer has drawn Wes Welker comparisons from Brian Kelly and is Williams’s favorite target.  Switzer lines up all over the field for the Tar Heels and is dangerous after the catch so Riggs will need to be on his toes to contain the sophomore receiver.

Will Fuller versus Brian Walker:  Notre Dame’s number one receiver Will Fuller struggled in the bad weather versus Stanford but will need to bounce back against the Tar Heels when he is matched up with Brian Walker.  Walker is an aggressive cornerback with a team-high three interceptions including one he returned for a 100 yard touchdown for North Carolina.  Over the course of the game however, Fuller should be able to get behind Walker and make big plays downfield for the Irish.

Everett Golson versus Dominquie Green:  Everett Golson had his second mediocre game in row versus Stanford as he turned the ball over multiple times.  The South Carolina native will need to do a better job of taking care of the ball against a school he was once committed to as the Tar Heels defense does one thing well and that’s create turnovers.  Safety Dominique Green symbolizes the aggressive style that North Carolina employs on defense as he has three fumble recoveries this season and will be looking to strip the ball from Golson on any opportunity he may get.

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  1. I cant believe so many idiots. Golson is a winner. When was the last QB at
    ND go 17-1. I hope some of these ignorant comments are not from ND fans.
    The record is the bottom line.

    1. Who said he wasn’t a winner? Did anyone dispute his record? I think some people are just concerned about his apparent trend with the turnovers over the PAST TWO GAMES (take note of the actual debate here). You’re obviously cool with the fumbles and INT’s, so that’s your deal.

  2. Are we going to be happy with 6 turnovers in 2 games? I would say forget about playoff hopes if so. Yes he can do a whole lot better and will start with UNC this week. Go Irish!

  3. I was seeing flashes of Tommy Rees last week. Not only were there turnovers aplenty by the QB, but turnovers of the worst kind….in the red zone and deep in ND’s own territory. Obviously Golson stepped it up when it mattered most, so I absolutely give him full credit for that, but he really needs to clean up his game.

    And let’s not get TOO carried away with the completion record vs Syracuse. Most of those were short screen passes that Syr was GIVING ND, which was obviously their game plan. It’s still a great accomplishment, but it doesn’t erase all the INTs and fumbles by any stretch. Calling Golson’s performance vs Syr mediocre is fair.

    And calling Stanford the #1 defense after 4 games, two of which were against Army and something called UC Davis is ridiculous. I get that statistically their D was only giving up 6 points, but come on. Yes, Stanford is a very good defense, but they’re not the best in the country.

    1. George, please don’t ever bring that name up ever again on these posts. Golson is 1000% better than Tommy Rees ever was.

      I know we always find something to criticize with Golson and the team in general…its what these forums are for. But I couldn’t be any more happy with Everett Golson and what he has done for the Fighting Irish on the football field. Someone earlier said he is simply a winner…I couldn’t agree more.

  4. well, Archangel, if you’re going to go there……

    “it’s not what somebody calls you, it’s what you answer to” Maya Angelou

    People may call Golson mediocre, but what is it he answers to?
    The clarion bell which rings and calls forth excellence.
    He answers to the two minute warning late in the first halves of Rice, Michigan and Purdue.
    Everett Golson answers to the call of Notre Dame legends, the call for greatness, in a pelting rain, down to Stanford, a mere 3:01. remaining, marching the team down the field, zinging one to Koyack.

    If that be mediocrity, then we ought change the lyrics of the Fight Song:

    Send a volley cheer on high,
    shake down more mediocrity from the sky.

    On reflection? Nahhhhhhh

    Let’s leave both Golson and the Fight Song alone!

  5. Just saw an article from the Chicago Tribune stating that the five suspended players are unlikely to play this year for ND. Hope there sources are wrong. Anyone know anything about this?

  6. “Everett Golson is important” to understate a fact of life as a NCAA CFB QB.

    Brian Kelly’s play calling or “game plan” is important.

    “Execute plays smoothly” is hugely important.

  7. Agreed, he was mediocre last week. Great on the last drive when he needed to be, but if he didn’t fumble or throw a pick when we could’ve had a TD then were not in that situation.

    1. “Be guilty of neither minimizing the maximum nor maximizing the minimum”

      Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

      1. OK, 2 botched FG tries had no impact on potential scoring? I’ll take Golson anyday compared to what we have had at this position in past years.

  8. c’mon here, you know what he means. EG is a great talent but his stats read out mediocre when he leaves himself open to fumbles and strips. he will not be what he can be until he protects the ball and throws w the laces. he will get killed this week if he does what he has in the past. I am betting BK makes sure he finally practices ball protection and this becomes a thing of the past.

    1. Any QB can read out as mediocre if you pick and choose stats.

      I prefer to look at career stats… like he is 17-1 as a starter (losing only to alabama in the 2012 Championship game.

      He also led his high school football team to 2 state titles and his high school basketball team to one.

      The kid is a winner… and that’s the only stat that matters!

      1. You oviously have never played the game. All you say is true. What the critics says is this.
        In order for him/ND to compete against the Alabamas he has to be better more often. That means playing 4 quarters of good FB. Simplly put.

      2. @ Shaz: and some other stats this season . . .not too shabby . . .
        “Irish signal-caller Everett Golson is also good on his feet – he has four rushing touchdowns – but should feel just as confident in his arm after throwing the winning 23-yard TD pass on fourth down last Saturday. He’s thrown for 13 TDs and three interceptions while completing 64.0 percent of his passes for 1,383 yards.” (AP)

    2. So would you say ND was better off last year at this position. QB’s don’t always have complete good games. What counted is what he did in that last minute and a half last week and threaded that toss to Koyack on 4th and 11. I would like to see the O side perform better but that’s more than just on Golson. Mediocre is we’re 0-5 or 1-5 and we’re not. Enjoy the ride, game by game.

      Go Irishhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

  9. “Everett Golson had his second mediocre game in row “. . .


    Does that include driving down the field to put his team in scoring position the last three possessions with the game on the line last week versus the #1 ranked D’ in miserable weather conditions, finishing with a 65 yard TD drive in less than 2 minutes, scrambling away from a rush to buy time for Koyak to get open in the corner of the end zone ; does that also include completing 25 passes in a row, one short of an NCAA record, surpassing any QB EVER in ND’s fabled history by 14 consecutive completed passes two weeks ago?

    If we all only expected as much of ourselves as we do Everett Golson . . .

    1. No it doesn’t include all the great things that EG does. He is a great ND QB. But he still has some shortcomings.

      He is yet to play four good quarters. He is too slow in picking up open receivers. He doesn’t think fast. And most of all he should not run the FB down field. He is prone to fumble–he should go down fast before he is hit–if that is posible.

      But he is still our QB and we support him. He needs more snaps.

    2. yes mediocre – take away the early turnovers and bad throws and there would have been no need for the two-minute drive

      Week before – under any case all the turnovers equal mediocre

      1. Take away weather conditions, take away some talented Stanford players that could have gone to another school, take away Nix and Tuitt from leaving, Russell and Williams from being suspended, add in some blue chip recruits ND lost the last couple years . . . . and it’s a 63-6 game.

        Hypothetical situations can be twisted any way they want.

        Bottom line is, ND is 5-0 and has more talent at the QB position, skill positions and team speed than anytime I can remember.

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