NOTRE DAME — Can you believe football season is wrapping up in South Bend?
While today will be an emotional home finale for this senior class, No. 3 Notre Dame (10-0) is two wins away from an unbelievable, unlikely, undefeated regular season.
The Irish want to make Wake Forest (5-5) win No. 11. Here’s how they match up:
WAKE FOREST OFFENSE
Many of the Demon Deacons’ issues on offense point back to their porous offensive line, which has given up 23 sacks this season and ranks in 111th in rushing offense (102.7 yards per game) in the nation.
Junior quarterback Tanner Price seems to have taken a step backwards after a solid sophomore season. He’s thrown 12 touchdowns to six interception and has completed 55.4 percent of his passes this year.
When Price isn’t getting knocked down, he targets receiver Michael Campanaro, who has 65 receptions for six touchdowns. Campanaro missed two weeks in the middle of the season with a broken hand and has been inconsistent in the three games since his return (123 yards and three touchdowns against Boston College but a combined 66 yards and zero scores against Clemson and N.C. State).
Receiver Terence Davis began to emerge in the wake of Campanaro’s injury. Despite only catching two touchdowns this season, Davis has registered 84-, 62- and 66-yard performances in the past three games and 13.4 yards per catch.
Tailback Josh Harris averages a respectable 4.4 yards per carry, but he doesn’t get many touches. Harris has 136 rushes on the year, just seven for 19 yards last week against N.C. State. Harris’s biggest games have been against Army (129 yards) and Boston College (84 yards), two of the worst rushing defenses in the country.
The Demon Deacons average only a hair over 20 points per game. While Notre Dame’s scoring average (26.1) doesn’t fare much better, Wake Forest’s largest scoring games have been against North Carolina (28), Army (49) and Boston College (28).
The Deacons have played two ranked teams this season and were destroyed in both contests. Then-No. 5 Florida State blanked Wake Forest 52-0 in Week 3, while then-No. 18 Clemson cruised to a 42-13 win three weeks ago. WAKE FOREST DEFENSE
Wake Forest performs a bit better on defense, though not by leaps and bounds. Although the Demon Deacons are just below average in rushing defense (63rd) and pass efficiency defense (72nd), Wake Forest has an athletic secondary and a front seven who likes to tackle behind the line of scrimmage.
Wake Forest averages 2.4 sacks per game and has 11 players on its roster who have registered a sack and 10 players who have scooped up fumbles this season. Linebacker Justin Jackson leads the pack with 75 tackles, four sacks and 8.5 tackles for losses. Defensive lineman Zach Thompson has another five sacks and seven tackles for losses.
Cornerbacks Kevin Johnson and Chibuikem Okoro have combined for 56 tackles, four interceptions and 16 pass break-ups this season.
Facing a Notre Dame offense that has yet to really wow anyone at home, Wake Forest has the capability of disrupting Everett Golson a bit this afternoon.
While Notre Dame hasn’t played pretty at home all year, Manti Te’o would play every position on the field before he’d allow the Irish to lose on his Senior Day.
Notre Dame will finally win at home with some of those elusive “style points” and will face hated USC with an undefeated record — and possibly a national championship bid — on the line.
Notre Dame 31, Wake Forest 6