Kelly's Keys to Victory: Wake Forest
For the past couple of weeks, Notre Dame has met two ranked opponents that brought a physical game, and neither proved to be a problem for the Irish.
This week against Wake Forest brings a different task in Wake Forest, and head coach Brian Kelly hopes his team rises to the occasion once again.
"I think this week brings another challenge," said Kelly.
The Demon Deacons from Wake Forest enter Notre Dame Stadium with a 5-3 record, including wins over some of the toughest competition the ACC has to offer. While there may not be the prestige of a USC or NC State, Kelly knows this game will take just as much effort.
"Wake Forest obviously was extremely efficient last week. Arguably probably the most experienced quarterback that we'll play."
Senior quarterback John Wolford has started for the Deacons ever since arriving on campus in Winston-Salem, so after two weeks of eliminating talented quarterbacks, the Irish are sticking to the fundamentals to do it again.
"Defensively, we've gotten off the field, we've eliminated big plays. We've tackled really well," said Kelly. "Those are the basic tenets that will have to show up again."
Offensively, Notre Dame prepared for a big, physical team last week in the Wolfpack, and like the defense, came out on top.
Wake Forest brings a more mobile defensive unit, which could test Notre Dame's ability to force its own will in the face of a new style of play.
"This is a team that gets a ton of tackles for loss," said Kelly. "[They're] very quick. We're big and physical up front. This is a different match-up for us where we're going to have to be very cognizant of their movement, their quickness. "
While size versus speed may be a cliche point of view for the matchup, Kelly knows each strength has worked for both teams, making this a game the Irish can't afford to look past.
"It's going to come down to execution and some of the one-on-one match-ups," he said. "[It's a] really good, solid football team, playing well, Wake Forest, right now, and we'll have to play our best."