WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. – Notre Dame takes to the road for the first time this season and puts its undefeated record on the line Saturday at Wake Forest. The Demon Deacons are coming off their first loss of the season but will be well-rested after their Week 3 game was played last Thursday.
TV: Noon ET, ABC. LINE: Notre Dame -7.5.
Wake Forest couldn’t stop Boston College quarterback Anthony Brown as the Eagles’ sophomore threw for 304 yards and five touchdowns in a 41-34 win. The Demon Deacons’ secondary has been a soft spot all season, with Tulane connecting for two touchdowns of 50-plus yards in their opener. The eighth-ranked Fighting Irish snuck by Vanderbilt with a 22-17 home win last week in what was yet another game in which they came out hot but were outplayed in the second half. Through three games, Notre Dame has outscored its opponents 51-19 in the first half but has been outscored 31-19 in the second half.
ABOUT NOTRE DAME (3-0)
The run game was a focus for the Irish heading into the Vanderbilt game and they found success, rushing for 245 total yards – including 118 on 17 carries from Tony Jones Jr. and 84 on 19 attempts from quarterback Brandon Wimbush. Notre Dame’s senior quarterback was better than his three-interception performance in Week 2 against Ball State but is still struggling in the passing game with only 589 yards and one touchdown through the air on the season. Wimbush protected the ball against Vanderbilt and it wound up being key to the victory as Notre Dame won the turnover battle 3-0.
ABOUT WAKE FOREST (2-1)
In addition to its secondary, Wake Forest’s offensive line will be under the microscope against Notre Dame’s pass rush, which has five sacks on the season – including three in the opener against Michigan. The Demon Deacons had done a great job protecting freshman quarterback Sam Hartman through the first two games, giving up just one sack, but BC was able to bust through for four sacks last week. Hartman has thrown for 834 yards and his favorite target has been sophomore receiver Greg Dortch, who has an impressive 28 catches (first in FBS among players who have played three or fewer games) for 336 yards and a touchdown this season.
1. After opening on the road, Wake Forest is playing in the third of five straight games at home.
2. Notre Dame PK Justin Yoon kicked three field goals last week to move into third place on the school’s all-time scoring list.
3. Fighting Irish LB Drue Tranquill is averaging seven solo tackles per game, ranking him fourth in the nation among all defensive players.
PREDICTION: Notre Dame 31, Wake Forest 24
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