Wake Forest can’t stop, or slow down, Notre Dame
SOUTH BEND, Ind. — Whenever Wake Forest appeared to be gathering momentum against Notre Dame, the tide was reversed. It eventually translated to Notre Dame piling 710 up yards of offense in a 48-37 victory.
Brandon Wimbush completed 15 of 30 passes for 280 yards and ran for 110 yards on 12 carries for the Irish, which has won seven straight and has a strong grasp on a top-four spot in the College Football Playoff rankings.
Missing safety Jessie Bates III because of an injury, Wake Forest’s defense failed to put consistent pressure on Wimbush and couldn’t stop him or any Notre Dame running back — Heisman Trophy candidate Josh Adams exited in the first quarter and entered concussion protocol. The final numbers for Notre Dame’s offense were 380 rushing yards and 330 passing yards.
Wake Forest’s first drive penetrated the Irish’s 20-yard line before settling for a 34-yard field goal by Mike Weaver.
Wake Forest scored first on a field goal, but it was short-lived, with Wimbush scoring on a 6-yard touchdown run that featured him juking Luke Masterson in the open field a little more than two minutes later. Masterson started for Bates.
The first and last minutes of the second quarter couldn’t have gone worse for Wake Forest.
First it was the Deacons, all in the matter of the first minute, getting a stop to force a field goal, then John Wolford was picked off on the ensuing possession’s first play, with Tony Jones punching in a 5-yard touchdown on the next play. It was Wolford’s third interception of the season.
Wake Forest scored its first-half touchdown in three plays that covered 69 yards, 37 of them coming on a catch by Alex Bachman and the last 20 on Wolford’s touchdown run up the middle. At that point, the Deacons had cut Notre Dame’s lead to 17-10.
Weaver put the ensuing kickoff in the bushes between the stands and field. Then Notre Dame, on a first-and-20, got the touchdown back with a 50-yard run by Wimbush.
And then in the final minute of the quarter, Notre Dame wrapped up a nine-play, 99-yard drive that included conversions of third-and-5 and third-and-9. That came after Wake Forest opted not to go for a fourth-and-1 from its 42 with about 3:30 left in the half.