Blue and Gold Illustrated

Sept. 24, 2018

Blue & Gold Illustrated: America's Foremost Authority on Notre Dame Football

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Page 32 of 55 SEPT. 24, 2018 33 the preseason in 2016, but eventually lost the job to Wolford. Hinton won the job again this year, but the suspension allowed Hartman to gain rhythm and confidence. The rookie threw for 620 yards with four touchdowns and three interceptions in wins over Tulane and Towson to open the season. "Preparing for Hinton or Hartman will be a challenge for Notre Dame," publisher Kelly Quinlan said. "Hinton is much more dynamic in the run game and more elusive. Hartman is the better all-around quarterback, but Hinton is dangerous on the move and he can make all the throws as well. "That is why he ended up winning the job in the spring before his mis- hap this summer. It will be a tough decision for Dave Clawson, espe- cially given how well Hartman has played so far as a true freshman." Hinton received work at wide re- ceiver and as a return man during fall camp, after being handed the suspension, so he could still see the field against the Irish even if it is not under center. Senior Matt Colburn, who rushed for 904 yards and seven touchdowns in 2017, returned as the top rusher for Clawson and company. Last year versus the Irish, he was Wake For- est's leading rusher with 120 yards on 20 attempts. Despite being listed as the starter the first two weeks, though, Colburn received 10 less carries than junior Cade Carney. Colburn notched just 79 yards on 25 carries, while Carney was more effective with 184 yards and two touchdowns on his 35 rush- ing attempts. "Neither running back has really put up any big games yet," Quin- lan noted. "Carney helped key the overtime win over Tulane with some tough runs and the game-winning touchdown. "[Redshirt freshman] Christian Beal-Smith, the third running back, has shown some flashes in his lim- ited duty, but Colburn and Carney have gotten most of the reps so far." The Demon Deacons also feature some playmakers in their receiving corps. Redshirt sophomore wide receiver Greg Dortch was having a breakthrough season in 2017 (53 catches for 722 yards and nine scores) before going down with a season- ending injury in late October. He picked up right where he left off, though, opening 2018 by reel- ing in a team-high 19 passes for 243 yards and a touchdown in the first two games. Dortch also returned a pair of punts for scores en route to leading the nation in all-purpose yards per game (255.0) through two weeks. Redshirt freshman Sage Sur- ratt and senior Alex Bachman have complemented Dortch in the early going. Surratt has made his early reps counts after redshirting in 2017, catching 15 passes for 213 yards. Bachman — who caught eight passes for 116 yards and a touchdown against Notre Dame in 2017 — had a team-best three receiving touch- downs among his nine receptions for 116 yards. "That trio has been impressive this season, and they are good at mak- ing spectacular plays and the routine as well," Quinlan explained. "Sur- ratt has been very impressive. He has looked like a veteran, big-time ACC receiver already and saved the Deacs' bacon in the win over Tulane with some NFL-level catches. "Dortch is more comfortable in the offense and that has made him more effective. … I think his speed and agility make him very hard to keep up with for safeties, linebackers and corners as he is too fast on crossing routes and anything vertical to keep up with." The receiving corps could be boosted even more by the return of redshirt junior wideout Scotty Wash- ington, who has been out due to a shoulder injury. His eight catches for 84 yards in 2017 in South Bend were part of a strong campaign during which he caught 45 passes for 711 yards and three touchdowns. "The speed and size the Deacs have at wide receiver causes some issues, especially with the slow mesh they use on the RPO [run-pass op- tion], that makes corners peak into the backfield and get burned easily," Quinlan said. "That is one of the best things that they do offensively and something that takes time to adapt to." With the injury to Herron up front, redshirt junior Jake Benzinger moved to the left side from right tackle, red- shirt junior Nathan Gilliam slid over to right tackle from right guard and fifth-year senior Patrick Osterhage became the starter at right guard. There has been some experiment- ing going on as well with fifth-year senior center Ryan Anderson, who started all 13 games in 2017, moving over to right guard at times. "They've struggled some there," Quinlan said. "Jake Benzinger had a terrible first game against Towson at left tackle grading out the worst of any of the offensive linemen. "They had to more around the en- tire line and put sophomore Zach Tom in at center and he did okay. They are still trying to figure out the offensive line." While the offense returned much of its top production, the same can- not be said for the Demon Deacons defense. Six starters are back, but three of the team's top four tack- lers departed along with two of its four leading sack producers. Most notably, Wake Forest had to replace defensive ends Duke Ejiofor and Wendell Dunn, who combined for 24 total tackles for loss and 10 sacks last season. Senior Chris Calhoun and redshirt GAME PREVIEW: WAKE FOREST Facts & Figures NOTRE DAME AT WAKE FOREST Game Info Date: Sept. 22, 2018. Site: BB&T Field (31,500). Kickoff: 12 p.m. ET. Television: ABC. Radio: This broadcast can be heard live on SIRIUS Satellite Radio (channel 129) and on Notre Dame's IMG affiliates. Series Facts: This will be the fifth meeting between the two programs. Notre Dame has won the first four, including 48-37 last year in South Bend. Head Coaches: Wake Forest— Dave Clawson (23-30, fifth season); Notre Dame — Brian Kelly (72-34, eighth season). Noting Wake Forest: The Demon Deacons are searching for their third straight winning season, which would be the first time they've accomplished the feat since 2006-08 … In its four games against Notre Dame, Wake Forest has been outscored on average 34.5-15.3 — which includes a 38-0 shutout loss in 2012 … The program has hosted just one of the four games in the series (2011), which coinci- dentally happens to be the lone time a game between the Irish and Demon Deacons was decided by less than double digits (24-17).

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