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Wake Forest (4-6) at No. 20 Notre Dame (7-3, No. 19 CFP), Saturday, 3:30 p.m. EST (NBC)
Line: Notre Dame by 24 ½, according to FanDuel Sportsbook.
Series record: Notre Dame 4-0.
WHAT’S AT STAKE?
Notre Dame hosts Wake Forest on Saturday, looking to bounce back after a disappointing road loss to Clemson two weeks ago. The Fighting Irish are 4-0 all-time against the Demon Deacons. Their last matchup came in 2018 when Notre Dame defeated Wake Forest and its freshman starting quarterback Sam Hartman, 56-27. FanDuel Sportsbook favors the Irish to pick up another multi-touchdown victory, this time with Hartman on their roster after transferring to South Bend in the offseason. Coach Dave Clawson desperately hopes to upset his former quarterback as Wake Forest needs to win out to become bowl eligible.
The Wake Forest offense has struggled this season, so it’s on defense to ensure Saturday is a low-scoring affair. That’s not out of the question, given Hartman’s recent play for the Irish. In the last six games, he’s completed 58.3% of throws for 201.8 yards per game, five scores and seven picks. Even if Hartman is held in check, Wake Forest also must contend with Notre Dame’s potent ground attack. Running back Audric Estimé averages 98.8 yards rushing per game (20th) and has 13 touchdowns (T-7th). Wake Forest boasts its best defense in the last six seasons, giving up 372.2 yards per game (65th).
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Wake Forest: RB Demond Claiborne has had some good moments this year, including 165 yards rushing against Vanderbilt and 96 yards with two scores against Pittsburgh.
Notre Dame: S Xavier Watts leads the nation with seven interceptions, including five in the last three games. He also leads Irish defensive backs with 42 tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss, four pass deflections and a forced fumble.
FACTS & FIGURES
The two programs first faced off in 2011. … The Irish actually defeated the Demon Deacons a fifth time in 2012, but the NCAA has vacated that win. … Wake Forest is tied for 112th in turnover margin, with 20 turnovers lost this season. … Notre Dame is tied for fifth with 20 turnovers gained. … Estimé is 12 yards from his first 1,000-yard rushing season. … Notre Dame is 16-0-2 on games that take place on Nov. 18.
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AP college football: https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-college-football-poll and https://apnews.com/hub/college-football