Offensive MVP: Everett GolsonThe redshirt-freshman signal-caller was impressive for the fourth consecutive week, firing for a career-best 346 yards -- in just 2.5 quarters -- with three touchdowns and but one interception albeit in the end zone. Golson hit for 20 of 30 passes giving him 72 of his last 121 passes dating back to a 30-13 win at then #9 Oklahoma.
Golson has accounted for 10 touchdowns over the last four games with just two interceptions and no fumbles. He had previously lost four fumbles in five starts.
"Obviously, he's a guy that makes explosive plays. He's got the ability to throw it. He can run the football. He's elusive," said head coach Brian Kelly post-game. "I think we're seeing a guy that's growing each and every week. Now he made some mistakes that a young quarterback has a tendency to make. We've got to kind of slow him down a little bit. But he's definitely on the right path to providing us the offense that we need."
Golson hit for gains of 24, 50 (TD), 27, 34, and 38 yards while registering 17 first downs among his 20 completions.
Offensive Game Balls: Senior Cierre Wood erupted for 150 yards on 11 carries, the highlight a 68-yard sprint-and-score courtesy an option pitch from Golson and outstanding perimeter blocking by receivers Daniel Smith, T.J. Jones, and farther downfield, true freshman Chris Brown to allow the elusive Wood ample running room down the right sideline.
He added gains of 19, 20, and 16 yards, all on rushes to the left side. The afternoon was Wood's third on the season in excess of 100 rushing yards and sixth over the last two seasons.
Leading the Irish through the air was the aforementioned Jones whose career-high 97 yards came on grabs of 11, 11, 13, 13, 15, and 34 yards, the latter an old school "Out and Up" for an easy touchdown to make the score 28-0 midway through the second quarter.
Aiding Jones was senior tight end Tyler Eifert with six grabs for 85 yards; the former allowing him to pass program legend Ken MacAfee for career receptions (now 130), the latter bringing him within 44 yards of MacAfee's career yardage mark (1,754). Eifert secured his fourth touchdown of the season and 11th of his career. MacAfee owns both single-season marks for tight ends as well, 6 and 15, respectively.
Notre Dame's offensive line (L to R) of Zack Martin, Chris Watt, Braxston Cave, Mike Golic, Jr., and Christian Lombard paved the way for 220 rushing yards (7.4 per carry), 363 passing yards (16.5 per completion) with no sacks allowed on the afternoon.
Notre Dame's 584 total yards is its second highest total of the season (Miami, 587) and of Kelly's 37-game Irish coaching career.
Defensive MVP: Bob DiacoIn the seven seasons prior to defensive coordinator Bob Diaco's arrival in South Bend, the Notre Dame program enjoyed a combined five contests in which its opponent did not register an offensive touchdown.
This fall, Diaco's third at the controls, the Irish defense has held six of 11 foes without an offensive score. The unit is, unequivocally, the chief reason Notre Dame is undefeated through 11 games.
Diaco's group limited Wake Forest to nine first downs, just 209 yards of total offense, and forced 10 punts. The Demon Deacons deepest penetration on the afternoon was Notre Dame's 38-yard line.
Defensive Game Balls: Junior nose guard Louis Nix posted seven tackles: three for a gain of just one yard, two more that limited ball carriers to two yards, and another for no gain. Nix also broke up a pass and anchored an Irish rush defense that yielded just 55 net rushing yards on 25 carries.
Playing his best game of his senior season was Will linebacker Carlo Calabrese. Making his fifth start of the season, Calabrese forced a fumble (recovered by classmate Zeke Motta), tied for the team lead with seven tackles including two for gains of one yard or less while adding a tackle-for-loss on 3rd and 1 to end a Wake Forest drive.
5th-year senior defensive end Kapron Lewis-Moore led the team with two QB hurries, added a pass breakup at the line and a tackle-for-loss among his three stops. Lewis-Moore's bookend Stephon Tuitt recorded his 11th sack of the season and is now just 2.5 short of tying the program record set by Justin Tuck in 2004.
Backup defensive ends Tony Springmann and Sheldon Day recorded a combined eight tackles (five by Day) with a QB hurry and tackle-for-loss (by Springmann) playing extensively in relief of starters Lewis-Moore and Tuitt. Springmann and Day both have three seasons of eligibility remaining following the season.
Special Teams MVP: Jarrett Grace The redshirt-freshman linebacker recovered a fumble by teammate Davonte' Neal and recorded tackles at the Wake 19 and 22-yard lines on kickoff coverage.
The Numbers Game- Notre Dame is 11-0 for the first time since 1989 and just the fourth time in program history (1988 and 1973). Its defense kept the opponent's offense out of the end zone Saturday for the sixth tie in 11 games this season...
- The Irish defense has allowed the following touchdown totals since Game 10 of 2011: 1, 4, 1, 1, 2, 0, 0, 0, 0, 2, 1, 2, 0, and 0…
- Notre Dame has held eight opponents to 300 total yards or less. Oklahoma gained 373, joining Navy (341), and Pittsburgh (308) as the only foes to top the 300-yard mark vs. the Irish this season. Boston College managed exactly 300 last week on 66 snaps. Wake Forest managed just 209 yards, the lowest yielded by Notre Dame's defense this season.
- Over its last 24 games, the Irish defense has yielded a total of 33 third quarter points….
- The Irish defense has allowed six points (two field goals) in the first quarter this season…
- The Irish defense has yielded two touchdowns or fewer in 23 of its last 28 contests...
- Notre Dame has allowed a total of 111 points this season, tied for first nationally with defending national champion Alabama. Both the Irish (fumble) and Crimson Tide (kick return) have allowed a non-offensive score this season contributing to the total.
- The Irish improved to 12-10 when throwing more than 30 passes in the 37-game Kelly era...
- Notre Dame is 42-2 since the beginning of the 2005 season when it out-rushes its opponent.
- John Goodman's 50-yard touchdown catch was the first touchdown reception of his career at Notre Dame Stadium and the longest of the season for the Irish through the air..
- Saturday's opening drive was comprised of four plays, 91 yards and a touchdown. It was the first opening home drive of season without a penalty by Kelly's offense and the first to conclude in a touchdown…
- Everett Golson threw his fifth interception Saturday; three of his five picks have occurred in the opponent's end zone…
- 12 of Golson's first 14 passes resulted in first downs or TD
- Saturday marked the sixth 100-yard game of Cierre Wood's career; the third this season
- Notre Dame's defense has seen opponents take control of the football at least 60 yards away from pay dirt on 105 possessions this season: just one has resulted in a touchdown and not since The Opening drive of the second half by Navy in the season opener.
- The Irish have won 19 of their last 22 games and are 9-1 in November under Brian Kelly.