Blue and Gold Illustrated

Nov. 18, 2023

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

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 35 of 55

36 NOV. 18, 2023 BLUE & GOLD ILLUSTRATED GAME PREVIEW: WAKE FOREST BY TYLER HORKA WAKE FOREST RUNNING GAME VS. NOTRE DAME RUN DEFENSE Wake Forest was never a run-first program when Sam Hartman was the Demon Deacons' quarter- back. That hasn't changed with Hartman having moved on to Notre Dame. Per Sports Info Solu- tions, Wake Forest ranked 95th in the country in points earned per rushing play through Week 9. The Demon Deacons also ranked 95th in total points earned on every rushing play all season. Or, in their case, points lost — minus 0.04. For refer- ence, LSU led the country in season-long points earned via rushing plays at 70.96 through Week 9. Notre Dame's run defense, meanwhile, ranked 22nd in the country in points saved per rushing play. That's not elite, but it's certainly indicative of a group that can hold its own on the ground. It makes sense. The Irish boast an array of sound and sturdy players up front who pride themselves on stopping the run. It's what head coach Marcus Freeman has built the foundation of his program upon. Wake Forest has two serviceable running backs in sophomore Demond Claiborne and junior Jus- tice Ellison. Neither are particularly scary home run hitters, though. Through Week 9, Claiborne averaged 4.5 yards per carry on 110 rushes and Ellison averaged 4.9 on 86. The lesser-used key cog is redshirt freshman Tate Carney with 30 rushes for 167 yards. That trio combined to score 7 touch- downs through Week 9. The Demon Deacons' 8 rushing touchdowns as a team through Week 9 ranked 115th in the FBS. Notre Dame's 9 rushing touchdowns allowed, one per game, ranked tied for 40th. Again, not elite, but better than what Wake For- est is going to hit the Irish with on the ground. Advantage: Notre Dame On PaPer Sophomore running back Demond Claiborne led the Demon Deacons with 493 rushing yards and 5 rushing touchdowns through Week 9. PHOTO COURTESY WAKE FOREST ATHLETICS

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of Blue and Gold Illustrated - Nov. 18, 2023