As quarterback Tanner Price and Wake Forest slip into South Bend on what the weatherman predicts to be a gorgeous November Senior Day, the question remains. Can the Demon Deacons use the senior’s sweet emotions to their advantage and upset the Notre Dame Fighting Irish?
At 5-5, Wake Forest is not only a mediocre team, but probably an over-achieving mediocre team at that. At 111th in rushing and total offense, 87th against the pass, not to mention 78th in total defense, it’s hard to imagine how the Demon Deacons even got to be .500. On the other hand, critics are equally amazed that the Irish (who have won their five home games by a mere 23 points) still haven’t lost a game.
In fairness to Wake Forest, QB Price (189-341, 1,965 yards, 12 TDs, 6 INTs), is not only a little bit better than mediocre, but one of the main reasons the Demon Deacons’ record is not far worse.
Still, Price completes only 41% of his passes away from home, and it’s difficult to believe he, with WF’s awful running game, poses much of a threat to the Irish’s number one scoring defense. Or conversely, that its bottom third defense could contain Notre Dame’s balanced-if-plodding offense for an entire game.
“The only thing we talk about in terms of a goal (is) they want to go undefeated at home,” the politically correct Irish coach Brian Kelly states. “That’s really important to this group.”
On the other hand, the realistic former Irish head coach, Lou Holtz, says about Senior Day sentiments, “It’s hard to block and tackle when you have tears in your eyes,” and one would tend to believe that nostalgia will be the more difficult foe for the Fighting Irish today than their opponent.
“We know what we have to do,” Irish center, Braxston Cave, summarized. “As much as people want to push it away, every guy knows what’s at stake.” With all the pregame Senior Day festivities, the Irish may stumble early, but should be able to not only regain their focus, but do it quickly enough that the Senior walk-ons get a chance to play.
Prediction: Sorry, Tanner, the “Price” is wrong. Notre Dame 34, Wake Forest 10.