No. 3 Notre Dame took one more step towards a possible berth in the national championship Saturday with a demonstrative 38-0 win over visiting Wake Forest. Here's a rundown of news and notes from the shutout:
The Notre Dame defense pitched its first shutout of the season against Wake Forest
• Saturday’s victory improved Notre Dame’s all-time record at Notre Dame Stadium to 320-106-5 (.748), its all-time mark when ranked in the top 25 to 420-133-15 (.753), its home record when among the top 25 to 212-54-3 (.794) and its all-time record when ranked in the top five to 83-20-2 (.800).
• The Fighting Irish are now 318-122-27 (.710) in their history in the month of November, including a 148-44-7 mark at home and a 9-1 mark under head coach Brian Kelly (three seasons).
• Kelly and former Notre Dame boss Dan Devine are the only two coaches in school history to win eight or more games in each of their first three seasons, and only Devine won more games (28) than Kelly’s 27 in the first three seasons. Devine operated those three seasons (1975-77) with an 11-game schedule, with the Irish playing 12 games in 1976 (Gator Bowl) and 1977 (Cotton Bowl). Kelly can surpass Devine with a win at Southern California to finish the regular season and a bowl victory.
• Kelly’s career closing percentage remains high, and he’s now 167-11 when taking a lead into the fourth quarter, including a 103-5 record since 2001. He’s 154-13 when his team has an advantage at halftime.
• Teams coached by Kelly have gone 57 consecutive games with a victory when holding opponents under 20 points.
• The Irish have shutout eight of its 11 opponents in the first quarter so far this year and outscored them 75-9 in the opening frame. Notre Dame compiled 221 yards of total offense in the first quarter against Wake Forest, which was a season high. In fact, it was the second-highest quarter of production all year behind a third-quarter effort of 230 yards on Oct. 6 against Miami at Chicago’s Soldier Field.
• Notre Dame averaged 12.3 yards per play in the first quarter Saturday, which tops the 11.3 yards per play against Oklahoma in the opening frame on Oct. 27 in Norman.
• Not since a 2008 game against Michigan have the Irish posted three touchdowns so quickly. Notre Dame scored three times in the opening 10 minutes and 32 seconds versus the Demon Deacons, and it took 10:09 against the Wolverines five years ago to strike three times.
• Wake Forest is the 70th different program to visit Notre Dame Stadium since it opened in 1930. The Irish are 57-12-1 (.821) against first-time visitors.
• Over the last 10 years, only four teams have allowed fewer points per game than the Irish this season (10). Alabama surrendered 8.1 ppg in 2011, Southern California gave up 9.0 ppg in 2008, Miami allowed 9.4 ppg in 2001 and Texas Christian held opponents to 9.6 ppg in 2000.
• The only defense to allow fewer total touchdowns than Notre Dame (45) over the last 28 games is Alabama (33). Over that same span, the Irish have given up only 11 rushing touchdowns, which ties the Crimson Tide.
• Notre Dame is allowing 92.2 rushing yards per game, and it’s the first time the Irish defense has held opponents to under 100 yards per contest since 2004, when it gave up just 88.2 yards on the ground per week.
• The Irish have limited eight of their 11 opponents to 300 yards of total offense or less this season. Wake Forest managed a paltry 209 yards Saturday.
• Notre Dame’s 584 yards of total offense against the Demon Deacons came up just four yards shy of a season high. The Irish put up 587 in a blowout victory over Miami.
• Senior inside linebacker Carlo Calabrese got his first career forced fumble on Wake Forest’s opening drive, which led to an Irish touchdown eight plays later and a 14-0 lead.
• Fifth-year senior receiver John Goodman pulled in a 50-yard touchdown pass from sophomore quarterback Everett Golson just over 10 minutes into the first quarter to give ND a 21-0 cushion. Goodman had just one touchdown reception prior to this season, but has collected three in 11 games this fall.
• Prior to Saturday’s game against Wake Forest, Joe Kaboski, an economics professor at Notre Dame, provided his take on the BCS standings, where the Irish should fit in and why the current mathematical process of evaluating a team’s talent level and schedule strength doesn’t take several obvious things into account.
“People seem to give KSU (and also Oregon) the benefit of the doubt over ND based on scoring differential, but it is an argument biased toward teams with relatively strong offenses rather than strong defenses,” Kaboski said. “For example, a team with strong offense wins 60-30, while the team with a strong defense wins 20-10. The former score looks like more of a blowout, but both teams were twice as good as their opponent.
“That is effectively what has happened with KSU (average score 42-18) and Notre Dame (26-11), but KSU has been 138 percent better than their opponents, while ND has been 135 percent better. That is effectively a wash, especially since ND has played a slightly stronger schedule. (Oregon has been 169 percent better, but they've played a much weaker schedule). Moreover, when you look at common opponents, the numbers overwhelmingly favor ND. Notre Dame averaged 343 percent better than Oklahoma and Miami (35-8 score), while KSU was only 109 percent better (34-16 score).
“In baseball, we never think that being down by 3 runs is the same in Coors Field against the Rockies as it would be against the pitching staff of the San Francisco Giants.
“Indeed, sabermetricicans use what is called a Pythagorean formula to predict wins based on runs scored and runs allowed. If we use the football Pythagorean formula, one would predict that both KSU and ND would have won 88 percent of their games.”