Notre Dame won its 10th game of the season last week with a rather lackluster performance. The offense sputtered and shot itself in the foot twice, while the defense dominated when it had to but for most of the game it looked lifeless.
In other words, it looked like the Irish were just playing to win and not to impress. If that was their idea, it worked, because they didn't impress anyone.
Today the Irish face another team in which they are heavy favorites to beat. It is the last home game of the 2012 season and "senior day". It is a game the Irish must be careful because in the previous five home games ND has not played well, committing many turnovers and penalties.
Last week the Irish fumbled scoring chances away twice. If they had not the Irish could have scored two more touchdowns. Make no mistake, ND was in control of the Boston College game. When the Eagles presented any kind of threat the ND defense dominated.
BC's defense is not ranked high but it held the Irish under 200 yards rushing. Head coach Brian Kelly and staff have been trying to develop a run game the past few weeks to help Quarterback Everett Golson with the passing attack. Last week the run game stalled at times.
That is the biggest problem for the Irish, despite the fine 10-0 record, the offense is not consistent. The defense appears to be losing some of its punch as the long season goes on so a more consistent offense will give the defense some extra rest during games.
More of the game later.
Today the Irish face a Wake Forest team that has a 5-5 record. The Demon Deacons have wins over Liberty, 20-17, North Carolina, 28-27, Army, 49-37, Virginia, 16-10, and Boston College, 28-14. The losses have been to Florida State, 52-0, Duke, 34-27, Maryland, 19-14, Clemson, 42-13, and last week North Carolina State, 37-6.
Wake Forest is led by Quarterback Janner Price who has completed 189 of 341 passes for 12 touchdowns and six interceptions. Top rusher is Josh Harris with 136 carries for 651 yards and five TDs and Deandre Martin with 88 carries and 394 yards and five TDs. Top receiver is Michael Campanaro, with 65 catches for 618 yards and six TDs.
This is only the second meeting between the two schools. Last year ND won, 24-17. Wake Forest is a member of the ACC so they will be on and off the ND schedule as part of ND's entry into the ACC.
IRISH NOTES:Receiver DaVaris Daniels will be lost to the team for the final two games of the regular season. He sustained a broken clavicle in the BC game. He underwent surgery on it Sunday. He will probably be available for the Irish bowl game. John Goodman, a fifth-year senior, will probably replace Daniels. The Irish also have available for use junior Daniel Smith and freshman Chris Brown....Some game stats. Theo Riddick had 104 yards on 18 attempts, Golson 39 on five and Cierre Wood 33 on six. Golson was 16 of 24 passing for 200 yards and two TDs. Tyler Eifert caught six for 67 yards, Riddick four for 56, and JT Jones three for 39. Daniels has two for 22 before being injured. Troy Niklas caught is first career TD pass in the game. Bennett Jackson led the defense with eight tackles with Zeke Motta getting seven. Manti Te'o had five, but also got his sixth interception of the year. Worth noting is that Prince Shembo had four tackles for losses totaling 29 yards and three sacks....Kelly abandoned his two quarterback system for the game letting Golson play the entire contest....The Irish have allowed 111 points this season. Only Dan Devine's 1980 team yielded fewer....Fumbles by runningbacks are hurting. Riddick and George Atkinson II each had one last week. That is three since the second overtime of the Pitt game when Wood fumbled what would have been the winning score....ND converted on all their red zone chances against BC....As noted last week the Irish needs help from others to get into the BCS title game. First they must win today and next week at USC. They also need either Kansas State or Oregon to lose. Alabama helped ND last week in its upset loss to Texas A&M....ND now tops the nation in scoring defense (11.1 ppg), a ranking it shares with Alabama. The Irish also rank in the top 10 in rush defense (sixth), pass-efficiency defense (10th), total defense (eighth) and sacks (10th)....Wake Forest is 1-32 all-time against top five teams and has lost 31 in a row against such teams. Its last win over top five team came in 1946. Wake Forest is 0-18 against teams in top 3....Notre Dame football viewership on NBC is averaging 4.68 million viewers, that's up 76 percent from 2011. It is its highest rating since the 2005 season when it averaged 5.17 million....Left tackle Zack Martin has allowed one sack all year, and it came on the opening possession of the season. Martin grades out at a team-high 92 percent....A total of 26 seniors will be honored prior to the start of today's last home game of the season....On Thursday Manti Te'o was named one of five finalists for the Bronko Nagurski Trophy, in honor of college football's National Defensive Player of the Year. He's also still in the running to the Lott Impact Award, the Chuck Bednarik Award, the Butkus Award, the Lombardi Award, the Walter Camp Player of the Year Award, the Maxwell Award, the Campbell Trophy for the nation's outstanding scholar-athlete, the Senior CLASS Award and the pinnacle of them all -- the Heisman Trophy....Today's game is the third of three that the Irish are expected to cruise through. On the other two, Pitt was an overtime thriller and BC was a sleepwalk. ND should be up today since it is the last home game for so many seniors and also to use it as a prep game for its major test next week at Southern California. The Irish offense has to be more consistent. while defensively the Irish appear to be tiring. They are 24 point favorites. In my preseason picks I had the Irish winnning today, and they should, and it should be a breeze.