Thursday, November 2, 2017

No. 3 Notre Dame looks to keep the momentum rolling as Wake Forest looms

By: Jon Opiela
Twitter: @jonopiela24

Coming off two consecutive victories over top-15 teams, the No. 3 Notre Dame Fighting Irish (7-1) ride a six-game winning streak as the Wake Forest Demon Deacons (5-3, 2-3 ACC) are looking to come into South Bend (3:30 p.m. ET, NBC) and put an end to the streak.

When the first College Football Playoff rankings came out on Oct. 31, the Irish were slotted at No. 3 and would take on No. 2 Alabama in the Rose Bowl if the season ended. Fighting Irish coach Brian Kelly and the Irish are not paying attention to the rankings.

“We just want to dominate this weekend. If we do that, we'd like three more chances. And then at the end of the year, if they say that that's one of the four best teams, that will be fine,” Kelly said.  “You know, but that's not -- we're just looking to dominate this weekend, that's all I can tell you.”

Senior quarterback John Wolford leads the Demon Deacons offensive attack. Wolford has thrown for 1660 yards and 15 touchdowns, while only throwing two interceptions.  The quarterback has also added 341 yards and six touchdowns via the running game this season. 

Wolford’s favorite target, Greg Dortch, will miss the remainder of the Demon Deacons season with an abdominal injury. Dortch hauled in 53 passes for 722 yards and nine touchdowns.  Dortch’s nine receiving touchdowns is tied for third in the FBS. In the 42-32 victory over Louisville on Oct. 28, Dortch set a Wake Forest single-game record with four touchdown receptions.

On the Notre Dame side, after torching the sixth-ranked rushing defense last week, Josh Adams and the rest of #33Trucking look to continue to dominate. On the season, Adams has ran for 1169 yards and nine touchdowns on 132 carries.  During the North Carolina State game, Adams became the fastest player in program history to reach 1,000 yards in a season.

#33Trucking is the new nickname for the Notre Dame offense and is tied into the campaign for Adams to receive the Heisman Trophy at the end of the season. While Adams wears No. 33, “33 Trucking” focuses on the entire program.

“Well, it's a collective group, 33. It really is about offense, defense, special teams. It's all working together to provide the opportunity for a guy like No. 33 to be where he is,” Kelly said.  “He doesn't get to where he is without all 33 coming together as one.”   

Notre Dame quarterback Brandon Wimbush has thrown for 1007 yards this season, to go along with 10 touchdown passes. Wimbush’s go-to guy all season has been wide receiver Equanimeous St. Brown, who has caught 20 passes for 253 yards and three touchdowns.

All-Time Series:

Notre Dame is 3-0 all-time against Wake Forest.  The last matchup between the two schools resulted in a 28-7 Notre Dame victory in Nov. 14, 2015 where Adams finished with a game-high 141 yards on the ground.