#3 Notre Dame 38, Wake Forest 0
The 2012 Notre Dame Football team has made us all witnesses to real change. They showed us how to alter perception in the face of doubt. They showed non-believers how to win on the road against Top 10 teams. They showed the loyal faithful that they can bounce back better from in-game adversity better than their fans. Brian Kelly's third edition had silenced the critics one by one until many of the most prominent media pundits took a deep breath and declared Notre Dame "pretty damn good."
On Saturday November 17, 2012, the Fighting Irish upped the ante and put on a clinic of how to properly honor deserving outgoing seniors from pre-game through quarter number four. After all the generous gifts this band of brothers have provided their oft-negative faithful, they do us another solid in their home finale by obliterating Wake Forest and letting fans in attendance or in their cozy living rooms a chance to stand up and clap off men who have altered an entire program's trajectory. Thank you seniors. Thank YOU.
From a game perspective, it was a revelation of confidence and dominance. Many (yours truly included) genuinely believed that by naming Everett Golson the starting quarterback in August that the offense would be a more dynamic threat for an interesting stretch run toward #1 USC and their unstoppable offense. Golson tossed for over 300 yards before halftime en route to his finest day in the uniform. Not coincidentally, Cierre Wood used limited opportunities, only 11 rushing attempts, to showcase that #1 Running Back skill we've so often been privileged too. The offense was senior heavy to the crowd's massive approval as John Goodman, Theo Riddick, Robby Toma and four senior offensive linemen racked up yards and points at will up until halftime. To Brian Kelly's credit, Notre Dame could have gone for the 50+ point jugular but opted for a less glamorous end-game chance to play everybody on the roster. Well done.
For the defense and their #1 Scoring Title – Alabama took the easy road by shutting out FCS Morgan Southern Tech A&M State while the Irish kept the scoreboard clean against a Wake offense that has actually scored points on major college football programs. No asterisk for Bama but who cares – you can have stay behind the Irish in both of the rankings you so crave.
BEAT USC WEEK BEGINS!! For this Southern California native, I will relish every moment of Notre Dame's march to send the Trojans and their preseason hellahype into their own offseason of uncertainty.