When you think of Notre Dame rivals the obvious teams come to mind.
Southern Cal, or USC as they prefer to be called, is probably first while next would be Michigan, who has bounced on and off the Irish schedule for decades because of the general dislike between the two.
Michigan State and Purdue from the Big Ten both have incredible histories with Notre Dame as does Pitt, who have taken on Notre Dame 69 times over the years.
North Carolina might not show up on the list of great Notre Dame rivals, but believe it or not they’re one of the most frequent opponents the Irish have ever played. The two first met in 1949 and will play this Saturday for their 23rd football meeting all-time.
In those previous 22 games Notre Dame has dominated to a 20-2 record, including last season’s Halloween eve victory over Carolina that didn’t feel nearly as close as the final score indicated.
Notre Dame and North Carolina met in 12 of 14 seasons between 1949 and 1962 with the Irish taking all but the 1960 contest, a 12-7 Tar Heels victory.
The two then met four times between 1965 and 1975 with Notre Dame taking each contest, the final being a comeback which rookie (freshmen were ineligible then) quarterback by the name of Joe Montana came off the bench with eight minutes to play to lead a 21-14 comeback victory despite trailing 14-6 upon entry.
As exciting as that one was it’d be the last of Notre Dame and North Carolina anyone would see for over 30 years. The two didn’t meet again until 2006 when the Irish won going away, 45-26, on a day that Jeff Samardzija set the Notre Dame record for career touchdown receptions.
Notre Dame would then make the trip to North Carolina two years later and fall for just the second time to the Tar Heels, 29-24, in a game that went down to the final seconds.
Since Notre Dame’s football affair with the ACC began in 2014, the Irish and Tar Heels have met three times, all of which Notre Dame has been ranked for and ultimately won.
Next: All-time game-by-game results
Notre Dame vs. North Carolina: All-time game-by-game football results
Just how impressive is 20-2 against a team?
Notre Dame’s 90.9 win percentage over North Carolina is noticeably greater than the 85.6% mark they post against Navy, who Notre Dame beat 43-straight times from 1964-2006.
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