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  • Irish Put Wake to Sleep

    by John Vannie

    Everett Golson unleashed a potent aerial attack that even made Coach Brian Kelly smile as Notre Dame crushed Wake Forest by 38-0 on Saturday. The Irish raced to a 31-0 halftime lead and coasted to their eleventh straight win of the season. Cierre Wood ran for 150 yards, including a 68-yarder for the game’s first touchdown after taking an option pitch from Golson. Notre Dame racked up nearly 600 yards in total offense and Kelly cleared the bench during the fourth quarter as his seniors took a curtain call.

    The Deacons tightened up against the run after Wood burned them, and their strategy to sell out up front and dare Golson to beat them through the air became apparent. Golson, who had plenty of time to throw all afternoon, accepted the challenge and picked apart the Wake Forest secondary. He also was the beneficiary of great catches by his receivers downfield, including Tyler Eifert who became the program’s all-time leader in receptions among tight ends. Kelly also let his young quarterback launch several deep passes before inserting Tommy Rees midway through the third quarter, and the Irish connected on several of them.

    Eifert, John Goodman and T.J. Jones caught touchdown passes from Golson during the first half blitz. George Atkinson scored the only points of a relatively quiet second half with a nine yard run, although Coach Kelly’s Gatorade shower in the final moments was a perfectly executed play by the Irish seniors.

    Coupled with Baylor’s convincing victory over previously unbeaten Kansas State and Stanford’s overtime win at Oregon, Notre Dame should find itself atop the BCS standings on Sunday. After three months of football, it’s possible although not necessarily likely that the geniuses who vote in the polls will finally pay a little respect to a defensive oriented team rather than the flashy, high scoring teams that make their living by beating up on weaklings.

    Let’s review the answers to the pregame questions for additional insights.

    Can Notre Dame generate defensive three and outs to get off the field? Yes, and they did it in unconventional style on the opening series when Carlo Calabrese forced a fumble on Wake’s third play.

    Will the Irish be able to start fast and take control of the game early? Finally, a laugher.

    Can Wake Forest’s offensive line hold up against the powerful Irish front? Hold up, or just commit holding on most every play?

    Will Notre Dame have any short field opportunities to convert into scores? Yes, but they could have scored from Elkhart today.

    Can the Irish offense generate a few explosive plays to excite the crowd? Wood answered that in the first two minutes, but Golson’s touchdown passes to Goodman and Jones were part of a spectacular fireworks show.

    Will Notre Dame display any improvement on special teams? It’s difficult to imagine they could make it through eleven games without a scintilla of improvement, but they did. The punting game can only be described as anemic.

    Is it permissible to root shamelessly for Baylor and Stanford? At this point I’d root for the University of North Korea against Oregon or Kansas State.

    It’s onward to Los Angeles to play the Trojans in the regular season finale. Early reports indicate that star quarterback Matt Barkley may have suffered a separated right shoulder when he was sacked late in this week’s game by UCLA’s Anthony Barr. Barkley left the Rose Bowl with his arm in a sling. The Irish last defeated USC in 2010 when Barkley also was sidelined due to an injury.

    34 Responses to “Irish Put Wake to Sleep”

    1. El Capitano says:

      We are peaking at the right time. Bring on Troy!

    2. 11-0! Who woulda thunk it? Not me. Onward to California.

      • If any of you are old enough to remember the famous ND-Miami rivalry, I recall seeing thousands of fans wearing “Catholics vs Convicts” t-shirts. Now I’m preparing my t-shirt for next Saturday’s game…..Catholics vs Cheaters!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    3. Love the response to the special teams question. All aspects of the kicking game absolutely terrify me. It didn’t seem to matter as much when they weren’t a contending team, but this season is a whole other animal.

      I’m going to need some more antacid for whatever game they end up playing in January.

    4. Baylor just scored to make it 28-7!
      Stanford Oregon 7-7.

    5. martinjordan says:

      I went to 5 o’clock Mass with te score 21-0 because the basketball team lost to the Jesuits and needed to bounce back against the Mormons – which they did.

      1. A penalty on the openning kick-off showcased two of their weaknesses on one play.
      2. Golson cotinues to improve although I have to agree with Mayock that the interception was “dumb.”
      3. Cierre Wood reminds me of Eric Pennick.
      4. I hope the idiots at ESPN are happy with the “style” points.
      5. Kelly wants one of those Pac 12 / Big 12 offenses to go with his SEC defense and it’s getting there.
      6. Holtz’s players used to say that practices were so tough that games were easy.
      7. You can see how mentally soft the program had become under Davie, Wilingham and Wies by watching how mentally tough this team is.
      8. 11 and 0 and U$C to go.

      • martinjordan says:

        Years ago Lou Holtz talked about the advantages of being number one during the season:

        1. You only need ten yards to get a first down.

        2. When you’re number one you get three points for a field goal.

        3. You get six points for a touchdown and the extra point is worth one point when you’re number one.

      • “11 and 0 and U$C to go”

        Nice rhyme

        Never thought I’d be saying that. Feels good.

    6. I was at the game, fantastic to see ND offense explode. They can beat any team in the country…PERIOD.

    7. Good game.

    8. That was the worst officiating I have ever seen. WF held on every single play they had the ball and their D backs interfered about 90% of the time. And let not talk about the fair catch!


    10. ND will be #1.


    11. Great game. Teo for the Heisman.Beat USC?

    12. This is the happiest day of my life other than my child being born. I know we need to win next week but if the reports are true that Barkley wont play then things are looking even better. Regardless I am going to soak this night in and enjoy the feeling. Mostly because I have been telling everyone here in Buckeye country that Oregon and KSU aren’t as good as advertised and that Notre Dame is as good and I think better. I told all the guys at work that Oregon and KSU would lose tonight or atleast be in trouble till the final whistle and they all said I was crazy. Everyone in the country should step back and realize that all these flashy offenses don’t mean SHIT unless you have a good/great defense and also that a grea defense beats a great offense. Oregon losing to Stanford is a perfect example. Oregon FINALLY played a GOOD defense and got shut down. No flukes here tonight! NOTRE DAME IS THE #1 TEAM IN THE COUNTRY!!!!

      Thank you to all the Notre Dame seniors…………THANK YOU so much…….I will never forget this season regardless of what happens next weekend. WE ARE!!!! ND!!

    13. Don’t think there will be any problem in getting the team properly prepared for next week’s game. GO IRISH!!! Beat the condoms!

    14. Hoosier Irish says:

      LIGHT UP THE #1 ATOP GRACE HALL!! And then take care of business at Los Angeles…

    15. GraceHallChapel86 says:

      I like the ring of this question: “Can the 7-4 USC Trojans upset the #1, undefeated Fighting Irish of Notre Dame without their starting quarterback, Matt Barkley?”

    16. Who is asleep? Shouldn’t there be a headline on ND Nation that ND is #1?

      I know. I know. We are so used to being #1. No big deal.

      But seriously ND is back, right? We just have to be those pricks from Troy.

    17. Nineteen years. I’ve waited nineteen years, plus a chin or two and lots of hair ago. 314 AP polls ago. Lived through the Syracuses, The Tulsas, The South Floridas. And Finally, We are back. To Coach Kelly, Our Players, Thank you for a special year. Lets go to Troy and take the next step. No time to gloat, Chop the wood, go get the next one. GO IRISH!!!!!!!!!

    18. Now let’s go out and whip the boys from LA. Go Irish! Kirk Herbstreit and Mark May are twisting themselves into knots, finding anway then can to avoid calling ND #1. What ass*&%^$.

    19. : Wow number 1. I did not think that i would be saying this. It will feel great when the polls come out. Nd nation should be ecstatic about this. It was a great game. Period. Lets avenge all of the losses against usc. I have been waiting for this game the entire season. The best seasons are when we beat usc. Lets put some style points on usc.

    20. We Re number 1 GO IRISH.

    21. We finally made it a laugher and Golson keeps demonstrating and improving his skills. We lose a lot of good seniors but, based on what I hear about the recruiting, the future looks bright. Bring on USC. We should go on the road with a purpose and end up in Miami for the big one.

    22. Good game.

      Get way ahead fast – 31-0 at the half, almost 600 yards offense total.
      Shutout for the D.
      Don’t run up the score, but leave NO doubt that you could have.
      Get the seniors on the field, the recruits must have been impressed, not to mention some who might have been watching on the tube.

      Their best game yet – they have been getting better every week.

      Hate to repeat myself but – Kelly’s the right guy for the job.

    23. 403Howard_68 says:

      64 – we went to USC 9-0-0 and lost on a holding call.
      66 – we went to USC 8-0-1 and won 55-0, a National Championship, but no bowl game.
      12 – we go to USC 11-0-0 – and I feel good. The game just might ease the heartbreak of the 64 season.

      Senior trip was to Miami – I hope to make the trip again to watch the newest National Champions claim thier title.

      GO IRISH

    24. Ryan from Omaha says:

      What’s better than having a girlfriend take you to senior day and watch the Irish shutout an oppenent? Finding out on the way home that the teams ahead of us got beat and we’d be Number 1 in the morning. Go IRISH.

    25. Mark May can suck it.

      I am amped for the $oCal game. I believe the Irish will get it done. Then Alan Grant can suck it too. Yes, Alan, I have a long memory.

    26. irishhawk50 says:

      I think we are finally seeing that Kelly is the coach we all hoped he would be when he was hired three years ago. Notre Dame is back among the elites, but its funny how many times in my lifetime the ND administration tried to reinvent the wheel. Just hire a real coach with proven head coaching abilities and see what happens. DUH! It’s a good feeling to see ND can have a 99% graduation rate and still get to # 1.

      Over the decades I’ve seen USC spoil my Fall too many times. Keep the pedal to the medal and crush them. Go Irish!

      • Amen to that. I detest $oCal even more than I do the skunkbears.

        I think ND does not have the most talented team in the country. But they may very well be the best Team. I’d love to see them show up in LA intent on business and put the wood to SC.

    27. A great win to cap the home schedule. It’s been a very special year and I never would have predicted 11-0 heading to L.A.

      Thanks to Charlie Weis and Brian Polian for bringing Manti Teo to South Bend. Can’t imagine him wearing cardinal and gold. Thanks to a great senior class and finally, thanks to Brian Kelly and the coaching staff for righting the ship of state and laying the foundation for long term success.

    28. I LOVE this team and I LOVE Notre Dame being #1 again. The fact that we’re an unexpected #1 makes me love this team even more. Kelly has silenced the doubters. Fighting Irish fans: we are only 2 wins away from championship number 14! Ironically we may get to beat Bama in the big game and break our tie of 13 national championship with Bama. But first let’s go make mince meat out of the struggling Trojans. Payback is a #####. GO IRISH!!

    29. I live in NJ and my first game in South Bend was with my Dad for the BC contest in 1993 when I was 11 years old. Since then, I was back for Texas in 95, WVU in 97, LSU in 98, Purdue in 04, and USC in 2009. In that same span I went to Navy at RFK 95ish and MetLife 2010, Maryland at Giants Stadium 2002 and FedEx Field 2011, BC at Chestnut Hill 2010, UCLA at the Rose Bowl in 2007, Ohio State in the 2006 Fiesta Bowl in Tempe and maybe another couple that I can’t or don’t want to remember. My dad and I finally made it back to South Bend this past Saturday to take in an absolutely gorgeous weekend of weather and Notre Dame football. After seeing the Irish go 11-0, we sat in Legends to watch Kansas State and then Oregon lose to push the Irish back atop the polls. I have watched 99% of Notre Dame games on TV for as long as I can remember. Off the top of my head, like most of us can, I can name the gut wrenching defeats: Florida State, Oregon State, NC state, LSU and GA Tech bowl game losses, losing to Ohio State in the regular season in the 90s, losing to Nebraska in OT to start the 2000 season, the recent debacles against Syracuse, UConn, Tulsa, and Navy…on and on and on. In some twisted alternate reality, I think that my Dad and I officially closed the book on mediocre Notre Dame football this past weekend. We were in the stadium the last time they were number 1 and were on campus again the next time they became number 1. 60 minutes are left between us and a shot at immortality. What though the odds. Go Irish