Skip to content

Game Day: No. 3 Notre Dame vs. Wake Forest

Nov 17, 2012, 12:51 PM EDT

Pittsburgh v Notre Dame Getty Images

It’ll be an emotional afternoon at Notre Dame Stadium this afternoon, when 83,000 fans thank a senior class for its time in South Bend. But there’s also a football game to play, and that’s been quite the ignored subplot for a team that’s trying to exit Notre Dame Stadium at 11-0 for the first time ever. (In 1993, the Irish lost their only other home game at 10-0.)

With one of the most important games in recent memory on the horizon, here are a few questions that need answering this afternoon as the Irish take on Wake Forest.

Can Notre Dame control their emotions? Credit Brian Kelly for making that the point of emphasis this week. There’ll be plenty of time to memorialize this senior class, especially if they handle their business the next two weeks. But this football team needs to be ready to play from the opening kick, and after an emotional entrance for 29 seniors, that’s going to be a tricky proposition.

You get the feeling that this team understands how to put aside distractions and let the emotion of the moment work in their favor. But that’s easier said than done.

How dominant will Notre Dame’s defensive front be? This is a nightmare match-up for Wake Forest, with an inexperienced offensive line facing its toughest test of the season. Will the Irish get after quarterback Tanner Price all afternoon? Will Stephon Tuitt have a big enough day to pass Justin Tuck for the single-season sack record? How many sacks will Prince Shembo rack up after dominating Boston College?

After two weeks of watching offenses find success in the screen pass game, expect the Demon Deacons to try and use Notre Dame’s aggressiveness against them. Can Bob Diaco’s linebackers diagnose things early and not play too downhill?

Will the Irish offense do more than just enough? That seemed to be the game plan last Saturday in Boston, when the Irish went uber-vanilla to finish off Boston College, content to run the clock and the football to win an ugly 21-6 game. But Everett Golson was fully in control of the offense last week, converting third downs and throwing accurately, all but asking to keep pushing the football down the field.

Any style points Notre Dame needs will be taken care of if the Irish escape Los Angeles with a victory next week. But it’d be great to see this offense put their foot on the gas and try to score efficiently, if only to let some senior reserves into the game in their home finale.

How will the Irish look without DaVaris Daniels at wide receiver? Today is a great opportunity for John Goodman, with the fifth-year senior getting the start in his final home game. Without Davaris Daniels as a downfield threat, Goodman and junior Daniel Smith will need to step up and seize their opportunities on the outside, doing it against a secondary that has some talent in their personnel.

Can the Irish dominate on the ground? We might be seeing both Theo Riddick and Cierre Wood for the last time in Notre Dame Stadium. The senior duo has been effective on the ground all season, and they’ll get a chance to put up some numbers this afternoon. Of course, the Irish were expected to run all over Boston College last week and never broke anything substantial, so expect that to be a point of emphasis today. Expect both Riddick and Wood to break lose this afternoon, and George Atkinson to get his chance as well.

How will the Irish secondary handle Michael Campanaro? We can worry about Marqise Lee and Robert Woods next week. I’m interested to see how the Irish handle Michael Campanaro, one of the ACC’s best wide receivers. The Irish secondary doesn’t play a lot of man coverage, often giving teams the underneath throws, so Campanaro will likely hear his number called early and often on quick throws. With three double-digit catch games — including a monster 16 catch, 123 yard, three touchdown game against Boston College two weeks ago — Bennett Jackson and KeiVarae Russell will have their hands full this afternoon.

Can the Irish finally dominate at home? Notre Dame is expected to win by 24 points, according to Las Vegas. But the Irish have only won their home games by 23 points total this season, struggling their way through an undefeated home slate thus far. In their final home appearance, can Notre Dame simply take care of business?

Latest Posts
  1. The good, the bad, the ugly: Notre Dame vs. Florida State

    Oct 20, 2014, 1:33 PM EDT

    Notre Dame at Florida State Notre Dame at Florida State

    Usually, Brian Kelly gives his team 24 hours to celebrate a win or get over a loss. That rule was likely tested — and you couldn’t blame him if it was slightly relaxed — after Saturday night’s 31-27 loss.

    “We need to give our kids a break. They’ve been going since June,” Kelly said on Sunday. “Our first bye week we kept them here to stay on top of their academics. We’re going to give them a little time off. But we’ll come back recharged, ready to go.”

  2. Kelly: Less clarity on FSU’s “blown coverage”

    Oct 19, 2014, 3:56 PM EDT

    Notre Dame at Florida State Notre Dame at Florida State

    Upon second inspection, Brian Kelly hasn’t gained any clarity on the offensive pass interference call that took a game-winning touchdown off the board. While the head coach has moved on, with the Irish getting some much-needed time off during fall break, Kelly’s opinion on the play — now that he’s realized the penalty was on Will Fuller, not C.J. Prosise — is even more muddled.

  3. Five things we learned: Florida State 31, Notre Dame 27

    Oct 19, 2014, 2:37 AM EDT

    Jameis Winston,Everett Golson Jameis Winston,Everett Golson

    With 13 seconds left, Corey Robinson caught the 4th-down pass from Everett Golson and walked into the end zone, all but uncovered. And for a moment, it looked like Notre Dame pulled off a win for the ages.

  4. Live blog — Notre Dame vs. Florida State

    Oct 18, 2014, 7:30 PM EDT

    William Fuller, Julian Whigham, Durell Eskridge William Fuller, Julian Whigham, Durell Eskridge

    It’s finally here. Not just the biggest game of the year, but the ultimate test for this Notre Dame football team. Entering Doak Campbell Stadium against the defending national champs and Heisman Trophy winner, we’ll see if the Irish have what it takes to upset the Seminoles.

  5. FSU Mailbag: Just in time

    Oct 18, 2014, 6:08 PM EDT

    Michigan v Notre Dame Getty Images

    With the big showdown just a few hours away, let’s get to the mailbag questions.

  6. Pregame Six Pack: Showdown with the Seminoles

    Oct 17, 2014, 12:41 PM EDT

    Rice v Notre Dame Getty Images

    It wasn’t too long ago that an undefeated Notre Dame team was about to head into some of the most hostile territory in all of college football. A double-digit underdog for a primetime, ESPN game, many expected Brian Kelly’s flawed, but surprisingly undefeated squad to be no match for their opponent. Then the Irish pulled away in a tight game and beat Oklahoma 30-13.

  7. Hardy could return to practice after bye week

    Oct 16, 2014, 11:20 PM EDT

    Navy v Notre Dame Getty Images

    We’ve heard from four of the five suspended Notre Dame football players, with DaVaris Daniels, Kendall Moore, KeiVarae Russell and Ishaq Williams all acknowledging that they’re out for the season. But Brian Kelly gave an update on safety Eilar Hardy’s status, opening a window for his return to the roster.

  8. Irish add Indianapolis LB recruit Asmar Bilal

    Oct 16, 2014, 3:20 PM EDT

    247Sports.com / Blue & Gold 247Sports.com / Blue & Gold

    Notre Dame’s recruiting train keeps rolling with the Irish accepting the commitment of Indianapolis linebacker Asmar Bilal. The Ben Davis product chose Notre Dame over Michigan in a recruitment that seemed to have the Wolverines in the driver’s seat until the football season started.

  9. Golson set to challenge Seminole defense

    Oct 16, 2014, 2:32 PM EDT

    Stanford v Notre Dame Getty Images

    It’s clear that Florida State’s defense is showing the appropriate respect for Notre Dame quarterback Everett Golson. Just look at who they’re comparing him to.

  10. Florida State Mailbag: Now Open

    Oct 15, 2014, 7:46 PM EDT

    New Mailbox

    Questions below or on Twitter @KeithArnold.

  11. Kendall Moore announces his departure from Notre Dame

    Oct 15, 2014, 12:01 PM EDT

    Notre Dame v Stanford Notre Dame v Stanford

    As expected, Kendall Moore took to Instagram yesterday and announced his departure from Notre Dame. The fifth-year linebacker was likely to play a reserve role for the Irish this season before the academic investigation took him off the field, ending his football career before his final season could start.

  12. And in that corner… The Florida State Seminoles

    Oct 15, 2014, 11:37 AM EDT

    Wake Forest v Florida State Getty Images

    The off-field drama can wait. The biggest game of the year awaits. Ben Jones of Warchant.com gives us an inside look at the Florida State Seminoles.

  13. Kelly excited for the opportunity to play Florida State (VIDEO)

    Oct 14, 2014, 2:50 PM EDT

    North Carolina v Notre Dame Getty Images

    While off-the-field issues have stolen plenty of headlines lately for both programs, Notre Dame and Florida State meet in a battle of Top Five teams that has the makings of a game of the year candidate.

  14. Door potentially open for Ishaq Williams to return in 2015

    Oct 14, 2014, 2:14 PM EDT

    USC v Notre Dame Getty Images

    While the news of DaVaris Daniels’ departure broke just minutes before Brian Kelly was set to hit the podium, the Irish head coach gave a significant update on his five suspended players during his Tuesday afternoon comments. Defensive end Ishaq Williams told his head coach that he wouldn’t play during the 2014 season. But Kelly left the door open that Williams might return and finish his eligibility in 2015.

  15. DaVaris Daniels done at Notre Dame

    Oct 14, 2014, 12:40 PM EDT

    BYU v Notre Dame Getty Images

    Another piece of finality has arrived in the ongoing suspensions of Notre Dame’s five football players. Wide receiver DaVaris Daniels will not return to Notre Dame.

  16. Big test ahead for Irish offensive line

    Oct 14, 2014, 11:51 AM EDT

    Notre Dame v Syracuse Notre Dame v Syracuse

    After an early-season reshuffling, Notre Dame’s offensive line will get its biggest test of the year on Saturday. The starting five in charge of protecting Everett Golson will have to go into hostile territory and take on Florida State’s star-studded defensive line.

  17. Despite the distractions, Winston plans to play against Notre Dame

    Oct 13, 2014, 1:00 PM EDT

    Wake Forest v Florida State Getty Images

    Amidst a university disciplinary hearing and two damning media reports from Fox Sports and the New York Times, Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston has no intention of doing anything but playing football next weekend. The returning Heisman Trophy winner might have storm clouds surrounding him, but he says he’ll be on the field in Doak Campbell Stadium next weekend.

  18. The good, the bad, the ugly: Notre Dame vs. North Carolina

    Oct 13, 2014, 10:09 AM EDT

    North Carolina v Notre Dame Getty Images

    That the Irish took the Tar Heels’ best shot and still ended up victorious is worth something. Just what that something is might be defined as the games roll on.

  19. Irish get commitment from pass-rusher Bo Wallace

    Oct 12, 2014, 6:03 PM EDT

    Rivals.com Rivals.com

    On a Saturday where Notre Dame failed to get any sacks, the Irish landed a pass-rusher for the future. New Orleans’ Bo Wallace committed to the Irish on Sunday, announcing the decision on Twitter. Wallace and his parents were in South Bend this weekend for his official visit, taking in the North Carolina game and campus.

  20. Five things we learned: Notre Dame 50, North Carolina 43

    Oct 11, 2014, 10:16 PM EDT

    UNC at Notre Dame UNC at Notre Dame

    Every one of the 80,000-plus bodies in Notre Dame Stadium knew that North Carolina was ready to spring a trap on Notre Dame. But wouldn’t you know it, the Irish stepped in it any way.