Notre Dame blanks Wake Forest, moves to 11-0
South Bend, IN (Sports Network) - Notre Dame, powered by Everett Golson's 346 yards and three touchdowns through the air, crushed Wake Forest, 38-0, and needs just one more win to complete a perfect regular season.
The third-ranked Fighting Irish (11-0) improved to 11-0 for the first time since 1989 and swept their six-game slate at Notre Dame Stadium -- with Saturday's blowout being the only one decided by more than seven points.
"We saved our best for the last home game," Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly said. "The goal for all of us was to be undefeated this year at home. ... We feel really good about the accomplishment."
It was a much-needed convincing win for Notre Dame, which still sits on the outside looking in at the BCS title game. The Irish are currently third in the latest BCS poll, with the No. 1 and 2 teams -- Kansas State and Oregon -- still yet to play on Saturday.
Cierre Wood amassed 150 yards and a touchdown on 11 carries, while T.J. Jones and Tyler Eifert each caught a touchdown pass and added 97 and 85 receiving yards, respectively, on six grabs apiece.
Notre Dame, already the top-ranked scoring defense in the nation coming in, pitched its first shutout since a 35-0 victory over Nevada on Sept. 5, 2009 and faces its final regular season test next Saturday at USC.
Wake Forest (5-6), blanked for the second time this season, went in the hole, 21-0, in the first quarter and never recovered, getting outgained, 584-209.
Tanner Price completed 22-of-33 passes for 153 yards in the loss.
"This was just a day where Notre Dame was too much for us to handle," Wake Forest head coach Jim Grobe said.
Notre Dame's seniors did not disappoint in their final home game. Theo Riddick kept the opening drive alive by taking a swing pass 24 yards on 3rd-and-11 from the 8-yard line. On the next snap, Wood, a fellow senior, took an option pitch and sprinted 68 yards for a touchdown.
Senior linebacker Carlo Calabrese put a big hit on Josh Harris and forced a fumble on Wake Forest's first possession, and the Irish converted the turnover at midfield into a score, as Eifert made a tough 2-yard grab in the end zone.
John Goodman, also making his final home appearance, made an acrobatic catch on Golson's underthrown 50-yard bomb for yet another score with 4:28 remaining in the opening quarter.
Golson was intercepted early in the second quarter, but later in the half found Jones behind the secondary for a 34-yard TD.
Eifert, who has one year left of eligibility but is expected to declare for the NFL Draft, caught a 38-yard pass to set up Kyle Brindza's 25-yard field goal just before the break.
George Atkinson III capped a 9-play, 80-yard drive with 3:30 left in the third quarter, and the Irish were able to honor their seniors in the final frame.
Kelly subbed out a trio of indelible defensive players early on, including Kapron Lewis-Moore, Zeke Motta and Heisman Trophy candidate Manti Te'o, who helped douse Kelly in Gatorade in the closing seconds.
"That was our way of showing our appreciation for our head coach," Te'o said. "I'm just very lucky to play for him."
The Irish posted their first undefeated home schedule since 1998 and 26th at Notre Dame Stadium ... Notre Dame has opened a season 11-0 four times in its 125-year history ... Eifert broke Ken MacAfee's 35-year school record for most career receptions by a tight end. He has 130 career catches for 1,710 yards -- 49 yards less than MacAfee ... Golson completed 20-of-30 passes ... Wake Forest will try to become bowl eligible for the fifth time in seven seasons next Saturday against Vanderbilt.
11/17 21:42:36 ET