Irish Have Too Much 'Fight' for When Facing Wake Forest

Notre Dame Fighting Irish players

Rainman M.

Thursday, November 2, 2017 4:06 PM GMT

Thursday, Nov. 2, 2017 4:06 PM GMT

No. 3 Notre Dame (7-1) hosts Wake Forest (5-3) Saturday at 3:30 PM ET. The Fighting Irish are favored by 13.5-14 points are the oddsmakers on the right side? Find out here.

Free NCAAF Pick: Notre Dame -13.5Best Line Offered: Pinnacle

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Wake Forest Demon Deacons vs Notre Dame Fighting Irish  

Notre Dame runs the ball over 60% of the time. The Irish are 7-0 ATS this season when they run for 100+ yards, 0-1 ATS when they run for less than 100. They have amassed over 300 rush yards in four consecutive contests, including against NC State's top-ten run defense.

Josh Adams leads Notre Dame's group of running backs, four of whom average more than 5 yards per carry with at least 20 carries.

Adams, who averages 8.9 YPC, uses his power, strength, and balance to break through contact. He has good vision in order to find running lanes, hits the hole with momentum and boasts impressive breakaway speed for a man of his size.

The offensive line had taken the heat for the poor run blocking in Notre Dame's one loss against Georgia. The o-line has since responded, even against the better defensive lines that they have faced.

Wake Forest stopped Georgia Tech's run offense for the first half and was effective against Louisville's Lamar Jackson because of their organization and discipline on defense. But they lack the physicality and endurance to match-up with Notre Dame's elite rushing attack.

Lack of size is a critical issue for Wake's defensive line. Defensive tackle Willie Yarbary weighs only 280 pounds and his true position is actually defensive end.  

Dating back to even last season, when they had more size up front, the Demon Deacons have consistently struggled against physically more demanding running backs, such as Florida State's Jacques Patrick, who didn't even have decent run blockers.  They revealed their lack of endurance in the second half against Georgia Tech, who blasted them with 25 second-half points behind their rush attack.

Notre Dame's offensive line will bully Wake Forest. Their running backs will wear down the Deacons, who lack depth especially at linebacker and in the secondary. Whereas the Irish have proven their ability to run over physical and well-organized rush defenses, Wake has consistently proven unable to hang with a physical rush attack for four quarters.

The 4-2-5 of Wake Forest is vulnerable to the power rush attack. In that scheme, an important asset for Wake's run defense is support from its secondary. This will be the first game in which the Demon Deacons play without their leader on defense, top tackler, safety Jessie Bates.

Greg Dortch, the Deacons' top playmaker on offense, will also miss his first game due to injury. Dortch did not only perform prolifically against inferior secondaries such as that of Louisville. But he also produced 100+ yards against Florida State and Georgia Tech. On the season, he has more than three times the amount of receptions. more than double the amount of yards and more than four times the amount of touchdowns as Wake's next-best wide receiver. No other receiver possesses Dortch's big-play ability, speed, agility, and overall skill set. In three seasons without Dortch, John Wolford was a statistically mediocre quarterback, whose passer rating never reached 130. Wolford, who is also Wake's leading rusher, will have to prove himself without Dortch against Notre Dame's 26th-ranked pass defense, in terms of opposing QB rating.

The Verdict

Expect no let-down from the concentrated Irish on our NCAAF Picks. Notre Dame is 2-0 ATS this season in games played right before facing a ranked opponent. Wake Forest cannot contain Notre Dame's physicality for four quarters, nor can Wolford, who had always been recognized as a mediocre-at-best quarterback before Dortch, keep pace offensively.

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