Going into Notre Dame’s matchup against Wake Forest, there were several story lines to follow for fans. Manti Te’o was playing his final game in Notre Dame Stadium. The Fighting Irish were attempting to push into the Top 2 of the BCS standings. Te’o was making his case for the Heisman Trophy. And there happened to be a football game against Wake Forest.
The Fighting Irish came out strong, which was not typical for a Notre Dame Senior Day. Everett Golson and the Notre Dame Offense scored 31 points on the Wake Forest Defense in the 1st half. Then, Brian Kelly essentially called the dogs off.
Everett Golson had a career day. He threw for 346 yards on 20 of 30 passing with 3 touchdowns and 1 interception. His first touchdown pass was to Senior Tight End Tyler Eifert who broke Ken MacAfee’s school record of 128 receptions, most by a Tight End. Golson’s second touchdown pass was a 50-yard bomb to John Goodman. Goodman made an excellent play to grab the ball in the end zone, giving Goodman another long touchdown reception. Goodman is averaging 27.7 yards per reception this season. The third and final touchdown was a 34 yard pass to TJ Jones on an out-and-up. Golson pump faked the Cornerback and then threw deep for the touchdown.
Notre Dame’s performance through the air was not the Offensive production from Saturday. Cierre Wood ran for 150 yards for 11 carries. His best run of the day came on a 68-yard run. Wood took a pitch from Everett Golson and was in the open field before Wake Forest knew what hit them. Wood averaged 13.6 yards per carry against the Demon Deacons.
8 receivers made their way into the stat sheet on Saturday. Jones led the Irish with 6 receptions for 96 yards and 1 touchdown. Eifert was right behind Jones with 6 receptions for 84 yards, which including the record breaking snare. Theo Riddick added 3 catches for 58 yards, which demonstrates that Notre Dame is attempting to use him more as a pass catching threat.
Manti Te’o and his fellow Senior football players were recognized before the blowout victory in the routine Notre Dame tradition. The cheers for Manti Te’o were by the loudest as he appeared last. The adulation for Te’o is great. It stretch to two other moments on Saturday. His parents left their seats early before the conclusion of the game and were given a standing ovation by several sections in the crowd. Also, he was wildly cheered as Brian Kelly gave him and a few other Defensive players a “Curtain Call”.
The real magic of the day was saved for after the game when Oregon was defeated by Stanford and Baylor ended Kansas State’s undefeated season. This catapulted Notre Dame into the number one position of the BCS Standings for the first time in school history. It is also the first time that the Irish have been ranked number one since 1993 and 11-0 since 1989. Brian Kelly is getting closer and closer to cementing himself as a legendary coach at Notre Dame.