Five key moments: Notre Dame vs. Wake Forest
Noah Cahill | Sunday, November 19, 2023
Notre Dame celebrated Senior Day in its final home game of the season with a resounding win. Here are a few key moments from Notre Dame’s victory against Wake Forest.
Notre Dame dominates defensively, takes a 7-0 lead into the second quarter
Notre Dame earned 110 yards to Wake Forest’s -4 in the first quarter. The defense held junior quarterback Michael Kern to a single completion and bottled up the run game behind a consistent push from the interior defensive line. After a slow start and missed field goal, the Notre Dame offense got going behind strong running from junior running back Audric Estimé, who achieved a 1000-yard season early on. The Irish ended the first quarter with a touchdown pass to wide-open graduate student running back Devyn Ford, who opened the scoring from 12 yards out.
Wake Forest marches down the field for a game-tying touchdown in the second quarter
The Wake Forest offense finally showed some life with a couple of creative trick plays. After a first down catch of his own, Jahmal Banks caught a pitch and threw for a first down to fellow junior wideout Ke’Shawn Williams. Later in the drive, Williams was also looking to pass after catching a screen behind the line of scrimmage but instead ran it himself for a 20-yard gain. Tate Carney ran in for a Demon Deacon touchdown on the ensuing play, tying the score at 7-7.
Notre Dame instantly retakes the lead with a touchdown drive
After a shaky start, the Irish offense needed a response. Graduate student quarterback Hartman and the offense answered the bell with a nine-play, 71-yard drive. Facing fourth-and-3, Hartman hit freshman wide receiver Rico Flores Jr. on a crossing route to keep the drive alive. Three plays later, Hartman found wide receiver Tobias Merriweather streaking down the middle for a 35-yard touchdown pass.
Notre Dame takes control of the game behind big plays on defense and special teams
After converting a couple of third downs, Wake Forest started driving once again, looking to stay on pace heading into halftime. However, the turning point came when graduate student defensive lineman Javontae Jean-Baptiste blocked Wake Forest’s field goal attempt. The block gave the offense an opportunity to be aggressive and take a two-score lead into the half. Hartman connected on three straight passes to put the Irish in field goal range, and graduate student kicker Spencer Shrader converted from 37 yards out, making up for his earlier miss.
On the first drive of the second half, graduate student linebacker JD Bertrand forced a fumble that senior defensive lineman Rylie Mills pounced on at the Wake Forest 19-yard line. On the following play, Hartman connected with sophomore tight end Eli Raridon for the touchdown. Just like that, the game looked out of reach for the Demon Deacons. Later in the third quarter, the defense came up with a massive stop on fourth-and-1 to set up an Estimé rushing touchdown. Now with a commanding 31-7 lead, Notre Dame could go on cruise control.
Steve Angeli puts the exclamation point on an incredible day for the passing offense
Hartman started the fourth quarter but exited the game after a touchdown pass to freshman wide receiver Jaden Greathouse. After entering the game, sophomore quarterback Steve Angeli went 3-for-3 passing for 36 yards and a touchdown, connecting with freshman wideout Jordan Faison. Faison’s touchdown capped off a breakout game for the entire wide receiver corps. Most notably, Flores tallied 102 yards, the first time a Notre Dame wide receiver had hit 100 yards in a game since the Fiesta Bowl against Oklahoma State in the 2021 season.
While New Year’s Six bowl hopes may be crushed for the Irish, they still sent off their seniors with a win in their final home game.