Boy did we need that Bye Week
As a fan, and a writer, I needed that bye week. I needed a palate cleanse and an emotional reset. During that time, reflections happened. I could have gone full cynic, or taken a glass half full approach. I chose to put the previous games behind me, and focus ONLY on what is ahead.
Winning 2 games against Wake/Stanford and then beating an SEC opponent during a Jan 1 bowl game is where I landed. We’d finish 10-3 with a bowl win. Not perfect, but I’d sure take it. From there, hope springs eternal as we head into an offseason that will be full of Coordinator speculation and transfer portals galore. On top of that, the “future” at quarterback arrives in December, along with an abundance in offensive skill talent. Now, we are three wins away from an “optimistic” offseason (not addressing the OC concerns, that for another blog).....which brings me to my take for the Notre Dame Fighting Irish and the Wake Forest Demon Deacons!
Notre Dame holds Wake to under 10 points
There have been a lot of things wrong with Notre Dame this year.....Defense is certainly not one of them. Al Golden has been a bright spot for the Irish and they should do everything possible to hold onto him for 1 more year. He is a Broyles award finalist and has the unit consistently playing great football, despite a sputtering offense. This Wake offense is BAD. They put up under 200 total yards against NC State a week ago. Golden will get pressure on the quarterback and put the offense in a great position to put up some points quickly. I expect a lot of 3 and outs and a very clean performance by the defense.
Sam Hartman is Nearly Perfect
Hartman has been dynamic, heroic, pedestrian, handsome, and frustrating all in one year. He heads into an incredibly emotional game and rises to the occasion. He will know this defense better than any defense he has played against in his entire career. This will go a LONG way and Hartman will dink and dunk his way down the field before opening it up later in the game. This will look like a complete offensive performance as Wake is average, and the defense will put the offense in a great position to win. The emotions will be real for Hartman - his last home football game against a team that has been his family for 5 years. Hartman ends his ND home career on a high note, before giving way to playing time for Angeli late in the game. Look for him to be in the 75% + Range and 3TDs.