Notebook: Unusual call goes Notre Dame's way
SOUTH BEND — Initially, North Carolina football coach Larry Fedora thought it would behoove him to refrain from commenting on the roughing-the-snapper penalty that kept alive a drive that put Notre Dame ahead for good.
Eventually, though, Fedora shared a bit of what he thought about a pivotal play in sixth-ranked ND’s 50-43 win over the Tar Heels Saturday at Notre Dame Stadium.
The play occurred at the end of a dismal Irish drive that included three false starts, a run for minus-6 yards and two Everett Golson incompletions, one of them well over the head of 6-foot-5 wide receiver Corey Robinson.
The play in question? The roughing-the-center personal foul on UNC’s Norkeithus Otis that gave ND renewed life on the drive, life they turned into a touchdown that gave them a lead for good.
“You know, (Otis) just said that, “I don’t think I hit him too early,’” Fedora said. “His head was up and he knows he hit the center. That was part of his job there. But he said, ‘I know his head was up, I know I didn’t hit him too early,’ but it didn’t get called that way.”
“I can’t comment on that but I think we were doing the same thing the whole game but it finally got called. We’ll go back and look at it,” North Carolina quarterback Marquise Williams said. “But hats go off to the refs. They did a phenomenal job today too.”
Freshman running back Elijah Hood for a time during the previous recruiting cycle was committed to Notre Dame. The Charlotte (Catholic High) product, however, flipped to North Carolina, where he’s earned a prominent role in the Tar Heels’ offense.
“It was interesting because I never had been to one of the games here. It was a unique experience. It’s a unique place,” Hood said. “It was a lot of fun just to be able to play here.”
Hood had a mixed day, carrying 17 times for 27 yards and a touchdown. But a fumble also led to a Notre Dame touchdown.
“It was OK. I got the ball good amount and everything,” Hood said. “But I also had a fumble. I would give it like a C. I need to hold onto the football.”
North Carolina’s Jeff Schoettmer put his team up 14-0 in the first quarter when he jumped in front of an Everett Golson pass intended for Ben Koyack and returned it 29 yards for a touchdown.
“I kind of had a sense he was going to run an out route,” Schoettmer said, “and I just jumped it.”
Sophomore wide receiver/punt returner Ryan Switzer tied the NCAA single-season record with five punt returns touchdowns last season and earned first-team All-America honors.
Switzer, for the most part, was bottled up Saturday. Switzer had a minus-12 yard return late in the first half that forced the Tar Heels to start a drive at their own 14. On the first play of the drive, Hood fumbled with the Irish taking over at the North Carolina 6. Notre Dame scored three seconds later.
Switzer later was smothered by ND’s C.J. Prosise for a 1-yard loss. For the day, Switzer returned three punts for minus-13 yards.
What’s in a (nick)name?
Perhaps the best note in the North Carolina press packet? That would be the item that listed junior Shakeel Rashad’s six nicknames. They are Shaktus, Shakinabox, Shaktastic, Radio Shak, Shakie Robinson and St. Shaktrick.