Most of the press for North Carolina's Saturday matchup with Notre Dame has gone to quarterback Jimmy Clausen's golden arm but the real precious metal of Notre Dame's offense just might be wideout Golden Tate.
Tate is the most electrifying of Notre Dame's receivers" and he leads the team with 23 receptions and also has three touchdown grabs.
He's also the only ND player to break a play of more than 50 yards this season.
""The thing that really has impressed me is the explosive playmaking of the wide receivers on the outside"" UNC coach Butch Davis said Monday. They're talented kids.""
While Tate is the home-run threat" his fellow receivers benefit from Notre Dame's wide-open passing attack — Clausen has thrown 171 times already this season" compared to 115 for all UNC quarterbacks.
And the fact is that Clausen and Irish coach Charlie Weis are more than happy to spread the ball around.
""We're going to throw it to where the coverage dictates us going"" Weis said. But now you're finally at a point where we don't have to create a star — just call a play and throw it to the weakness of the coverage.""
In Notre Dame's five games" three different players have lead the Irish in receptions.
That kind of spread-the-wealth attack will put pressure on the UNC secondary to defend every receiver on the field.
But against the Tar Heels Notre Dame might be facing a different animal.
So far on the season UNC has picked off opposing quarterbacks 12 times — the most in the nation. Trimane Goddard himself has an ACC-leading four picks. UNC repeatedly preys on opposing quarterbacks on third down and passing situations with ball-hawking linebackers Bruce Carter and Mark Paschal featured.
And when a pass does find its intended receiver UNC cornerbacks have demonstrated their ability to make one-on-one tackles.
Miami tried to run quick bubble screens for wide receivers against UNC two weeks ago but cornerbacks Jordan Hemby and Kendrick Burney responded with a combined 13 solo tackles keeping receivers contained.
Granted the Tar Heels haven't faced anything close to Weis's schemes or Clausen's arm.
But to garner a third straight win they'll have to make Golden Tate & Co. look a little tarnished.
Contact the Sports Editor at firstname.lastname@example.org.