Notre Dame ends 2012 campaign undefeated at home with Wake Forest shutout
Posted: 11/18/2012 at 1:15 am
By: Rachel Terlep
Click here to view in a gallery.
Notre Dame running back Cierre Wood, right, picks up 16 yards after getting past Wake Forest linebacker Justin Jackson (39) and defensive end Zach Thompson during the first half of an NCAA college football game in South Bend, Ind., Saturday, Nov. 17, 2012. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
For the first time all season, No. 3 Irish (11-0) won at home with some style.
After a 21-point first quarter, Notre Dame blanked Wake Forest (5-5), 38-0.
The Irish did most of their damage in the first half — leading 31-0 at halftime — and pulled most of their starters midway through the third quarter.
Manti Te’o and Kapron Lewis-Moore were the last seniors to leave the field early in the fourth quarter, eliciting a standing ovation and the loudest cheer of the night from Notre Dame Stadium.
Notre Dame set the tone early when senior tailback Cierre Wood sprinted 68 yards for a touchdown in the opening two minutes of the game.
Wake Forest got two plays in before senior linebacker Carlo Calabrese smothered running back Josh Harris, knocking the ball loose in the process. Safety Zeke Motta recovered and Golson led Notre Dame on an 8-play, 52-yard drive topped by a 2-yard touchdown toss to Tyler Eifert.
Senior receiver John Goodman joined the list of seniors playing spectacularly on the following series. Golson aired out a 50-yard pass that Goodman caught in the end zone, marking the receiver’s third touchdown in five catches this year.
By the end of the first quarter, the Irish had 21 points, 221 total yards offense and all the momentum.
After four double-digit-yard completions on the first drive of the second quarter, Golson threw an interception on a long bomb intended for Robby Toma. The quarterback bounced back to find TJ Jones on a 34-yard touchdown pass on the following possession. Kyle Brindza nailed a 25-yard field goal to give the Irish 31 points at the half.
Wood’s final run of the night was a 43-yard sprint that set fellow tailback George Atkinson III up for a 9-yard touchdown run. Wood finished the game with 11 carries for 150 yards — a staggering 13.6 yards per carry — and one touchdown.
Golson finished 20-30 for 346 passing yards, three touchdowns and one interception. Jones finished with six receptions for 97 yards, while Eifert grabbed six passes for 85 yards.