Staff Predictions: Wake Forest
Observer Sports Staff | Friday, November 3, 2017
Ben Padanilam — Editor-in-Chief
Notre Dame is coming off consecutive top-15 victories by margins of 35 and 21 points, respectively.
So in comes a pretty solid Wake Forest squad, a week ahead of a top-10 showdown with Miami and the same week the Irish found themselves ranked in the season’s first CFP rankings.
And off go the sirens, blaring a trap-game alert.
It’s easy to see this game posing a stiffer challenge than it should on paper for that reason, but like The Who, I won’t get fooled again. This team has cultivated a mindset of dominating its opponents, and that’s exactly what it has done — the defense has yet to allow more than 20 points in a game, while outscoring opponents by an average of 24.
Expect just another day at the office for the Irish.
FINAL SCORE: Notre Dame 45, Wake Forest 14
Marek Mazurek — Assistant Managing Editor
Notre Dame has a big No. 3 in front of its name going into Saturday’s matchup with Wake Forest that has “trap game” written all over it.
With the first College Football Playoff rankings out, Notre Dame’s biggest enemy is losing focus down the home stretch of the season.
The last time the Irish were in the playoff hunt in 2014, they barely beat a horrible Boston College team 19-16 and most likely would have been left out of the final four, even if they had beaten Stanford.
Though it will be by a little more than three points, Notre Dame will let this one get closer than it should, while never being in danger of losing. Wake Forest will load the box and force Wimbush to make throws.
FINAL SCORE: Notre Dame 31, Wake Forest 21
Elizabeth Greason — Sports Editor
The Irish have proven they have a dominating mindset in each and every matchup they enter. They have been able to blow out two top-15 opponents in back-to-back weeks, and this week’s contest should be no different, as Wake Forest is objectively a less talented team than USC and North Carolina State.
While this game has all the makings of a trap game on paper, the Irish are simply too good and too focused to let that happen. And without redshirt-freshman wide receiver Greg Dortch, the Demon Deacons are in for a difficult time offensively.
The Irish rushing game should continue to be out in full force, and Mike Elko and Clark Lea will try to embarrass their former team.
FINAL SCORE: Notre Dame 49, Wake Forest 14
Tobias Hoonhout — Associate Sports Editor
While the Demon Deacons are usually a punching bag in the ACC, they are no pushover this season. But Notre Dame just beat two top-15 teams in consecutive weeks by at least 20 points for the first time since 1944, sit third in the first edition of CFP rankings and have a potential Heisman winner in Josh Adams.
Brian Kelly’s team has walked over every team it’s played except No. 1 Georgia, who beat it by one point. The Irish clearly are very hungry, very deep and have shown no signs of slowing down. What’s even scarier is the fact that Wimbush hasn’t even reached his threshold yet.
I made the mistake of not predicting a blowout last week. But not this time.
FINAL SCORE: Notre Dame 49, Wake Forest 13
Daniel O’Boyle — Sports Writer
It’s easy to imagine the Irish looking past this game and failing to put in the kind of performances that’s seen Notre Dame dominate every team it’s played this season except No. 1 Georgia.
But the same could have been said last week, when the Irish still dominated. And much more importantly, the Demon Deacons will be without redshirt-freshman Greg Dortch, by far their best offensive player and a potential All-American candidate before he went down.
After easy wins against two ranked teams, the Irish performance here will not be quite as good as we saw in the last two weeks.
But the win will still be comfortable.
FINAL SCORE: Notre Dame 38, Wake Forest 20