Thursday, November 15, 2012
Notre Dame-Wake Forest Preview
Notre Dame QB's: Notre Dame Quarterback Everett Golson is coming off another strong performance in a 21-6 at Boston College. On the season he has completed 58 percent of his passes for 1,572 yards with 8 touchdowns and 4 interceptions. In addition to his passing numbers, Golson has rushed for 258 yards (4th overall) and 5 touchdowns (1st overall) as well. Backup quarterback Tommy Rees has appeared in 9 games this season and has completed 59.3 percent of his passes for 419 yards, 2 touchdowns, and 2 interceptions. Andrew Hendrix has only appeared in 2 games with him completing 5 of 6 passes for 55 yards.
Notre Dame QB's: Wake Forest comes in with the 100th ranked pass defense, and are allowing opposing teams to complete 61.4 percent of their passes for 260.9 yards a game. They also have allowed 17 passing touchdowns and have intercepted 9 passes this season. This will be among the worst pass defenses that the Irish face all season. Considering that Golson has been doing very well in the last 3 games (4 passing touchdowns, 3 rushing touchdowns, and a 2-point conversion), he should have another strong performance and throw for a couple touchdown passes as well while possibly setting a career high in a passing category as well.
Edge: Notre Dame
Wake Forest QB's: Tanner Price is the starting quarterback for the Demon Deacons, the junior has completed 55.4 percent of his passes for 1,965 yards, 12 touchdowns, and 6 interceptions. Tanner Price isn't the only quarterback that has played as in the last game, a 37-6 loss at North Carolina St. had 3 quarterbacks play and had a wide receiver throw a touchdown pass for the only score in the loss. Patrick Thompson has completed 4 of 5 passes for 20 yards and Brendan Cross has completed 1 of 3 passes for -2 yards on the season. The pass offense overall is ranked 88th overall with an average of 207 yards a game.
Wake Forest QB's vs. Notre Dame Pass Defense: The Irish have been pretty good at defending the pass, as they have only allowed 3 opponents this season to pass for more than 200 yards all season. This is still despite the fact that they lost 2 players in the preseason to injury, and another early on in the season as well. The Irish have allowed 199.3 passing yards a game this season and allow opposing players to complete 58.8 percent of their passes, along with 6 passing touchdowns allowed, but have intercepted 14 passes this season. Look for Notre Dame to hold its 8th opponent to below 200 yards and for the first interception for a touchdown this season by the Notre Dame defense.
Notre Dame RB's: Theo Riddick has been the leading rusher for Notre Dame this season, and has rushed for 714 yards and 4 touchdowns this season. He has done it on 154 carries and has a 4.6 yard average. Riddick has also been vital in the receiving game too with 29 receptions for 273 yards and 1 touchdown. Cierre Wood is 2nd in rushing with 570 rushing yards on 91 carries with a 6.3 yard average. He also has 3 rushing touchdowns and the longest running play, a 62 yard touchdown run against Oklahoma. George Atkinson III is 3rd in rushing with 312 rushing yards on 42 carries, with an average of 7.4 yards a carry and 4 rushing touchdowns on the season. Cam McDaniel has 114 rushing yards on 20 carries, a 5.7 yard average, and 1 rushing touchdown.
Notre Dame RB's vs. Wake Forest Rush Defense: Wake Forest is ranked 65th in run defense and is allowing 156.9 rushing yards a game. Opponents are getting in 3.7 yards a carry, but Wake Forest has allowed 17 rushing touchdowns. This actually looks good for the Irish as they have ran for 19 touchdowns on the ground this season and this will also allow for Notre Dame to rotate running backs as well to keep them from wearing down, especially with the final regular season game at USC. Look for a solid performance from the ground game of Notre Dame that is averaging 198.7 yards a game and 4.8 yards a carry on top of that.
Edge: Notre Dame
Wake Forest RB's: Wake Forest has one of the weakest running games in college football with the 114th ranked rush offense that averages 102.7 yards a game. Josh Harris leads the Demon Deacons in rushing with 607 rushing yards on 136 carries with a 4.5 yard average and 5 touchdowns. Freshman Deandre Martin is second in rushing with 371 yards on 88 carries with a 4.2 yard average and 5 touchdowns. Beyond those two running backs are very few rushing yards as the next leading rusher is actually wide receiver Michael Campanaro who has 69 rushing yards on 14 carries with 1 touchdown and a 4.9 yard average.
Wake Forest RB's vs. Notre Dame Rush Defense: Considering the weak rushing offense of the Demon Deacons, they do not matchup well against the Irish run defense that is ranked 6th in the nation and is allowing just 95.9 rushing yards a game and have allowed just 2 rushing touchdowns all season long. If Harris and Martin are shut down in the running game, it will completely nullify the running game of Wake Forest and force Wake Forest into a one-dimensional offense. Notre Dame has one of the best front sevens in all of college football and should have another strong performance that could move the run defense up in the rankings.
Edge: Notre Dame
Notre Dame WR's and TE's: The Irish suffered a big loss when starting wide receiver Davaris Daniels was lost for the regular season with an injury against Boston College. He had 25 receptions for 375 yards and averaged 15 yards a catch as well. With Daniels out until the bowl game, look for senior John Goodman to step up in his place, even though Goodman only has 4 receptions for 77 yards and 2 touchdowns, but senior receivers have been known to step up late in the season when needed (example: Duval Kamara caught 3 touchdown passes in the final few games of his senior season back in 2010, including an important touchdown in the win over USC.). Tyler Eifert leads the Irish in receiving yards with 470 and has been targeted quite often in the last few games, expect that to continue even more with Daniels out, he also has 34 receptions and 3 touchdowns as well. TJ Jones is having his best season yet for the Irish with 34 catches for 422 yards and 3 touchdowns. Robby Toma has been reliable as always with 20 receptions for 181 yards. Other players in addition to Goodman that will be expected to step up with Daniels out will be Daniel Smith (6 receptions, 37 yards) and Chris Brown (1 reception, 50 yards). Troy Niklas caught his first career touchdown and could be targeted more too and has 5 catches for 75 yards and 1 touchdown.
Notre Dame WR's vs. Wake Forest DB's: With Wake Forest having a weak pass defense, look for Eifert to be targeted often, especially in the endzone and Eifert will be able to use his size to his advantage as well. This is also in part to not having Davaris Daniels available as well in the receiving game. Look for TJ Jones and John Goodman to be targeted often as well. It would also be wise to use Chris Brown on other types of passing plays so that the deep pass to Brown isn't as expected as well. Also look for Golson to spread the ball around as well, which has been important this season as no player has more than 34 receptions this season.
Edge: Notre Dame
Wake Forest WR's and TE's: Michael Campanaro is the leading receiver for Wake Forest with 65 catches for 618 yards and 6 touchdowns. Terence Davis is 2nd with 37 receptions for 495 yards and 2 touchdowns, while fullback Tommy Bohanon has 20 receptions for 192 yards and 5 touchdowns. Sherman Ragland has 19 receptions for 220 yards and averages 11.6 yards a catch. Brandon Terry has only 14 catches, but it has gone for 287 yards and a 20.5 yard average a catch, and he is a big target at 6'5'' and 205 lbs.
Wake Forest WR's vs. Notre Dame DB's: Michael Campanaro is the top receiver, but he is a small target at 5'10'' and averages just 9.5 yards a catch. With Brandon Terry being a big target and also 3rd in receiving yards, he might be just as important to shut down along with Terence Davis and Tommy Bohanon. Look for the Irish to have 5 defensive backs in on most plays with the weak running game of Wake Forest. Notre Dame having KeiVarae Russell to play after being hurt late against Boston College will help too as Notre Dame cannot afford to lose any more players in the secondary. Despite this, the Notre Dame secondary should be able to keep Wake Forest's receivers under control.
Edge: Notre Dame
Notre Dame OL: The offensive line has done well as of late in staying consistent and are doing well in the run blocking and pass blocking too. The run game is averaging 198.7 yards a game, 4.8 per rush, and have 19 rushing touchdowns as well. They have allowed 15 sacks on the season, along with 37 quarterback hurries and 45 tackles for loss as well.
Notre Dame OL vs. Wake Forest DL: Wake Forest has accumulated 23 sacks by its defense with defensive end Zach Thompson and linebacker Justin Jackson tying for the lead with 4 sacks each. The defense also has 15 quarterback hurries and an impressive 68 tackles for loss as well. Keeping opposing defenders out of the backfield will be absolutely important when factoring in how many tackles for loss that the Demon Deacons have this season.
Wake Forest OL: Wake Forest has been less impressive on the offensive line. Run blocking has been very poor with an average of 102.7 yards per game, and 3.1 yards per rush. Opponents are also able to get into the backfield easily as well as Wake Forest has allowed 23 sacks, 16 quarterback hurries, and 66. Part of this is due to losing 4 starters from the 2011 team with the lone returning starter being senior center Garrick Williams.
Wake Forest OL vs. Notre Dame DL: With the young offensive line allowing opponents to get into the backfield often along with allowing many sacks does not look good for the Wake Forest offensive line. Notre Dame's defense has totaled 57 tackles for loss, 31 sacks, and 41 quarterback hurries on the season. Stephon Tuitt is getting closer to the single season record for sacks and potentially break that record against Wake Forest. The Irish have one of the best front sevens that should be able to put pressure on the Demon Deacons offensive line without much difficulty and may not need to stack the box with all of the deficiencies of the offensive line.
Edge: Notre Dame
Notre Dame DL: Stephon Tuitt is having a sensational season, the defensive end leads all defensive lineman in tackles with 37, has 12 tackles for loss, 11 sacks, 1 pass breakup, 9 quarterback hurries, 1 fumble recovery for a touchdown, 3 forced fumbles, and 1 blocked kick. Louis Nix III is good to go after a late game ejection against Boston College and won't miss any time. He has 35 tackles, 4.5 tackles for loss, 2 sacks, 3 pass breakups, 3 quarterback hurries, and 1 forced fumble this season. Kapron Lewis-Moore continues to provide a veteran presence on the defensive line with 31 tackles, 5.5 tackles for loss, 4.5 sacks, 1 pass breakup, 7 quarterback hurries, and 1 forced fumble. Sheldon Day has seen extensive playing time with 15 tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss, 2 sacks, 1 pass breakup, and 1 quarterback hurry. Tony Springmann has also seen time in every game with 8 tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss, 1 sack, and 2 quarterback hurries.
Notre Dame DL vs. Wake Forest OL: Notre Dame should have no difficulty in applying pressure to Wake Forest's offensive line and should be able to get in quite a few sacks on Wake Forest quarterback Tanner Price. Look for a strong game out of the line and for the Irish to win this one in the trenches. It is also possible for Notre Dame to get its first safety in years.
Edge: Notre Dame
Wake Forest DL: Zach Thompson leads all Wake Forest defensive lineman in tackles with 48, and also has 5.5 tackles for loss, 4 sacks, 1 interception, 1 quarterback hurry, 1 fumble recovery and 1 forced fumble. Nikita Whitlock has 41 tackles, 4.5 tackles for loss, 3 sacks, and 2 quarterback hurries. Kris Redding has 30 tackles, 5.5 tackles for loss, 3.5 sacks, 4 pass breakups, 1 fumble recovery, and 2 forced fumbles. Hasan Hazime has 23 tackles, 6 tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks, 2 pass breakups, 1 quarterback hurry, 1 fumble recovery, and 2 forced fumbles. Tylor Harris has 18 tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks, 1 quarterback hurry, 1 fumble recovery, and 1 forced fumble.
Wake Forest DL vs. Notre Dame OL: The offensive line has been consistent as of late, but Wake Forest has been great at getting into the opponent's backfield with the 68 tackles for loss. Notre Dame will need to keep up the consistency and prevent the Wake Forest defense from getting into the backfield to win this battle.
Notre Dame LB's: Manti Te'o continues to have one of the greatest seasons in school history and is one of the top candidates for the Heisman. He set the school record for interceptions by a linebacker in a single season with 6 after getting an interception against Boston College. On the season Te'o has 92 tackles, 5.5 tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks, 6 interceptions, 4 pass breakups, 4 quarterback hurries, and 2 fumble recoveries. Manti Te'o helps give the Irish one of the top linebacker units and front sevens in the nation. Dan Fox has 51 tackles, 2 tackles for loss, 1 sack, 2 pass breakups, and 2 quarterback hurries. Prince Shembo is having his best season yet and has 43 tackles, 10 tackles for loss, 7 sacks, 1 pass breakup, 11 quarterback hurries, and 1 fumble recovery. Carlo Calabrese has 39 tackles and 1 tackle for loss. Danny Spond has 33 tackles, 0.5 tackles for loss, 1 interception, and 3 pass breakups. Ishaq Williams has 18 tackles, 3 tackles for loss, 1 quarterback hurry, and 1 forced fumble. Other players that have seen playing time include Jarrett Grace, Kendall Moore, Ben Councell, and Romeo Okwara.
Notre Dame LB's vs. Wake Forest: The linebackers will be relied upon in run and pass coverage, while also in generating pressure on Wake Forest quarterback Tanner Price. With the amount of sacks and tackles for loss that the offensive line of Wake Forest has allowed, this should not be an issue. Look for Te'o and Shembo to have a big game, and for Te'o to have another big moment that could have him be in bigger consideration of the Heisman Trophy.
Edge: Notre Dame
Wake Forest LB's: Justin Jackson leads the Demon Deacons in tackles with 75, he also leads in tackles for loss at 8.5, and also has 4 sacks, 2 pass breakups, 2 quarterback hurries, 1 fumble recovery, and 1 blocked kick. Mike Olson has 68 tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss, 1 sack, 1 interception, 2 pass breakups, and 2 quarterback hurries. Riley Haynes has 58 tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss, 1 sack, and 1 interception. Joey Ehrmann has 46 tackles, 7.5 tackles for loss, 2.5 sacks, 2 quarterback hurries, and 1 forced fumble. Zach Allen has 36 tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss, 1 quarterback hurry, and 1 forced fumble. Scott Betros has 22 tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss, 1 pass breakup, and 1 forced fumble. Brandon Chubb has 21 tackles and 1 tackle for loss, while Darricus Ellis has 9 tackles and 1 tackle for loss.
Wake Forest LB's vs. Notre Dame: Wake Forest has many linebackers who are able to get into the backfield and linebackers who can force fumbles. The linebackers will have to worry about a Notre Dame offense with multiple running backs, a tight end who is a big target, and a quarterback that continues to get better and better as the season has progressed. Notre Dame must prevent the linebackers from getting into the backfield.
Notre Dame DB's: The defensive backs of Notre Dame have done a much better job than projected before the season started. The unit is ranked 25th in the nation and KeiVarae Russell was cleared to play despite a late injury in the win over Boston College. Bennett Jackson is having an amazing season with 52 tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss, 4 interceptions, 4 pass breakups, and 1 fumble recovery. Zeke Motta has 52 tackles as well, 1 tackle for loss, and 2 pass breakups. KeiVarae Russell has 46 tackles, 2 tackles for loss, 0.5 sacks, 1 interception, 2 pass breakups, and 1 quarterback hurry. Matthias Farley has 30 tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss, and 1 interception. Other defensive backs that have seen time are Dan McCarthy, Elijah Shumate, Nicky Baratti, and Josh Atkinson.
Notre Dame DB's vs. Wake Forest WR's: The defensive backs will need to primarily account for Michael Campanaro, Terence Davis, and Brandon Terry in the receiving game. However, Tommy Bahanon and Sherman Ragland must be accounted for as well. Brandon Terry is the big target and averages more than 20 yards a reception and could prove to be dangerous. If Notre Dame shuts down the run game, and forces Wake Forest to be one-dimensional on offense, it will be easier. Notre Dame should be able to have more guys in coverage to handle the Wake Forest receivers.
Edge: Notre Dame
Wake Forest DB's: AJ Marshall has 61 tackles, 3 tackles for loss, 2 interceptions with 1 being returned for a touchdown, 4 pass breakups, 1 quarterback hurry, and 1 forced fumble. Kevin Johnson has 53 tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss, 0.5 sacks, 3 interceptions, 12 pass breakups, 1 quarterback hurry, 1 fumble recovery, and 2 forced fumbles. Daniel Mack has 50 tackles, 0.5 tackles for loss, 1 pass breakup, 1 quarterback hurry, and 1 fumble recovery. Kenny Okoro has 38 tackles, 4 tackles for loss, 1 interception, and 4 pass breakups. Merrill Noel has 28 tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss, 0.5 sacks, and 3 pass breakups and Duran Lowe has 28 tackles, 1 tackle for loss, and 1 fumble recovery.
Wake Forest DB's vs. Notre Dame WR's: The defensive backs may not have to worry about Davaris Daniels, but Tyler Eifert still must be accounted for and he is a big target that can use his size to get the ball and also is dangerous in the endzone. TJ Jones also has really emerged, and Notre Dame will have other receivers step up in the absence of Daniels. Look for the Demon Deacons defensive backs that have the 100th ranked pass defense to have difficulty with Eifert and the rest of the Notre Dame recievers.
Edge: Notre Dame
Notre Dame Kicking Game: Kyle Brindza is 17 of 23 on the season in field goals and the last game against Boston College was the first game this season that did not have a single field goal attempt. Ben Turk averages 40.7 yards a punt on 41 punts with a long of 53. He also has 2 touchbacks, 16 fair caught, 12 inside the 20, and 7 punts of 50 or more yards. Kyle Brindza is also the kickoff specialist and has a 62.4 yard average on 55 kickoffs with 22 going for touchbacks.
Wake Forest Kicking Game: Field goal kicking has been minimal compared to Notre Dame for Wake Forest. Jimmy Newman is 2 of 6 in field goals and is 1 of 5 when beyond the 40. Chad Hedlund is 3 for 3 with a long of 44 yards. Alexander Kinal is the punter and averages 40.7 yards a punt on 80 punts with a long of 61. 5 have gone for touchbacks, 23 were fair caught, 24 have been inside the 20, and 12 have been for 50 or more yards. Jimmy Newman is the kickoff specialist as well with a 62.4 yard average on 41 kickoffs with 24 touchbacks, but 1 went out of bounds.
Notre Dame Return Game: George Atkinson III is the primary kickoff returner with 15 kickoffs returned for 307 yards and a 20.5 yard average. Cam McDaniel has returned 6 kickoffs for 118 yards and a 19.7 yard average. Punt Returns have been a non-factor with Davonte Neal returning 14 punts for 31 yards.
Wake Forest Return Game: Orville Reynolds has returned 11 kickoffs for 162 yards and has a 14.7 yard average. Lovell Jackson has 7 kickoff returns for 137 yards and also returns punts with 9 returns for 123 yards and a long of 60 yards.
Stronger Unit: Wake Forest
Everything Else: Notre Dame is 10-0 and heads home for the final home game of the regular season against 5-5 Wake Forest. The Demon Deacons haven't been really good this season with a 0-52 shutout loss at Florida St., a 13-42 home loss against Clemson. They also are 1-3 on the road with the win being a 16-10 over Virginia, 2 blowout losses to Florida St. and NC St., and a 14-19 loss to Maryland. They also barely beat Division 1-AA Liberty 20-17 and beat Army 49-37 for non-conference games. Notre Dame has played it close at home this season with a late field goal needed to beat Purdue, a 13-6 win over Michigan, overtime was needed for Stanford, beat BYU 17-14, and needed triple-overtime for Pittsburgh. With it being senior saturday, look for strong performances out of many seniors, especially Manti Te'o, who has been the heart and soul of the Notre Dame Football Team. Everett Golson should have his best game yet for Notre Dame as well and also look for Notre Dame to have its best performance at home this season as well.
Prediction: Notre Dame 30, Wake Forest 3