After six straight weeks of 20+ point wins over opponents, the Fighting Irish came up short of extending that streak to seven weeks against Wake Forest. The more important streak, though, is still alive as with their 48-37 win against the Demon Deacons, the Irish have now won seven straight games.
The Irish were well on their way to rolling another opponent, taking a 31-10 lead into halftime, but the second half would see the Irish defense uncharacteristically struggle as Wake Forest would reach the end zone on their last four possessions of the game. The Irish would still win by double digits, and despite how close the final score might have made the game seem to those who didn’t watch it in its entirety, the game wasn’t that close, and it never felt like the game was slipping away from the Irish; it was more a case of “stop giving up garbage points” than “they’re going to blow this game!”
Despite the uneven game for the Irish defense, the Irish offense, on the other hand, showed no signs of slowing down, even without Adams in the backfield for most of the game. Wimbush found a new favorite target in Chase Claypool, as both had career days in the passing game, and Wimbush led the Irish in rushing, with Deon McIntosh and Tony Jones Jr. combining for 122 yards rushing and 2 TDs. By games end, the Irish had amassed 710 total yards of offense, and put up 48 points on the scoreboard to take their record to 8-1.
Key Fighting Irish Plays
1st Quarter – Brandon Wimbush 6 yard TD run. The Irish answer Wake Forest’s field goal drive with a quick 7 play touchdown drive that takes just over two minutes to give the Irish a 7-3 lead.
2nd Quarter – John Wolford pass intercepted by Julian Love; Love returns INT 25 yards to Wake Forest’s 5 yard line. Love made a great read on the play, jumping the route almost as soon as the pass was thrown, and came up just short of his second pick-six in as many games. The Irish would take advantage of the turnover, reaching the end zone just one play later to take a 17-3 lead.
2nd Quarter – Brandon Wimbush 50 yard TD run. Wimbush took the designed QB draw right up the middle and raced, untouched, into the end zone for a 24-10 Irish Lead.
2nd Quarter – Ian Book 1 yard TD pass to Nic Weishar. With Wimbush getting banged up on a 28 yard run that put the Irish on the goal line, Book came into the game and made quick work of it, hitting his TE in the end zone to give the Irish a 31-10 lead going into halftime.
3rd Quarter – Justin Yoon 22 yard FG. Earlier in the drive, Chase Claypool dropped a pass that would have gone for a sure touchdown, so 10 plays later the Irish would be forced to settle for Yoon’s second field goal on the day, and a 34-10 lead.
3rd Quarter – Brandon Wimbush 34 yard TD pass to Chase Claypool. After two straight incompletions to start the drive, Wimbush went to his favorite receiver on the day, hooking up with Claypool on passes of 44 yards and a 34 yard touchdown pass on back to back plays to give the Irish a 41-16 lead.
4th Quarter – Dion McIntosh 2 yard TD run. With Wake Forest scoring on back to back drives, he Irish responded in kind, with McIntosh’s touchdown giving the Irish a 48-23 lead. Wake Forest would keep it interesting, scoring two more touchdowns in the fourth quarter, but the Irish would still hold on to a double digit lead for a final score of 48-37.
Top Fighting Irish Performers
Despite being banged up in the game, Wimbush put together his most complete game all season. Though his completion percentage was again sub-optimal (50%), Wimbush still threw for 280 yards and 1 TD on 15 completions. When he wasn’t lighting it up through the air, Wimbush was getting things done on the ground, rushing for 110 yards and 2 TDs, including a 50 yard TD run in the second quarter. Wimbush now has 11 passing TDs and 13 rushing TDs on the season.
The highly regarded sophomore receiver had been having a fairly season to date. In fact, prior to facing Wake Forest, Claypool’s most productive game of the season came in Week 4, against Michigan State, where he had 4 receptions for 56 yards. Against Wake Forest, Claypool stepped up his game in a big way, hauling in 9 receptions for 180 yards and 1 TD, just his second touchdown of the season. With his 180 receiving yards against Wake Forest, Claypool more than doubled his combined receiving yards in the eight previous games, and now leads the team with 354 receiving yards.
Coney’s been on a season long tear, delivering big play after big play for the Irish defense. He had another big game against Wake Forest, including 3 TFL and 1 sack, but perhaps his most impressive play of the game came when he chased down a scrambling Wolford, from the far hash mark, denying Wolford the corner and limiting him to a minimal gain on the play. Coney led the Irish defense in tackles with 12 Total Tackles (6 solo, 6 assisted) to go along with his 3 TFL and 1 Sack.
Next Up: Notre Dame travels to Florida to take on the No. 7 Miami Hurricanes at 8:00 pm EST (5:00 pm PST).