Notre Dame defeated North Carolina 45-32 on Saturday afternoon, winning its 2nd straight game.

The Tar Heels scored 2 late touchdowns to make the final score closer than it actually was, but Notre Dame was dominant on both sides of the ball for much of this game.

Here are 3 takeaways from Notre Dame’s performance:

The offense was excellent

For the first time in 2022, Notre Dame looked like it had a functional, explosive offense. The Fighting Irish easily topped 500 total yards for the first time since their Fiesta Bowl loss to Oklahoma State last season.

Drew Pyne was borderline spectacular, completing 24-of-34 passes for 289 yards and 3 touchdowns. It was easily the most productive game of his Notre Dame career to-date.

Notre Dame’s running backs were also excellent. Audric Estime carried the ball 17 times for 134 yards and 2 touchdowns. Chris Tyree and Logan Diggs each averaged more than 5 yards per carry as the Irish gashed UNC on the ground.

The defense stepped up

Notre Dame’s defense stepped up in a big way. It was challenged with facing Drake Maye, Josh Downs and some of the best offensive weapons the ACC.

Notre Dame’s defense responded by limiting Maye to only 179 passing yards on 21 attempts through 3 quarters. The Tar Heels averaged only 2.6 yards per rush during that time as well.

UNC did tack on a couple garbage-time touchdowns late, so Maye finished the game with 301 yards and 5 touchdowns through the air. But Notre Dame’s defense was significantly more resistant than that stat line indicates.

First road win

Marcus Freeman’s tenure as Notre Dame’s head coach got off to a nightmare start with losses to Ohio State and Marshall. He also lost his starting quarterback in Tyler Buchner for the entire season vs. the Thundering Herd.

But Freeman has been able to stop the bleeding, so to speak, and get Notre Dame back on track. The Irish are now 2-2 on the season and look likely to reach bowl eligibility at the very least.

Notre Dame will be in action again in 2 weeks against BYU.