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               === New No. 1? Notre Dame crushes Wake Forest ===
 
 South  Bend, IN  (Sports  Network) -  Notre Dame  crushed  Wake Forest,  38-0,
 Saturday afternoon, then got the help it needed later that night.
 
 The  third-ranked  Fighting Irish (11-0)  improved to  11-0 for the first time
 since  1989 and  remain the  only  undefeated team  eligible to  play for  the
 national title after Kansas State and Oregon suffered their first losses.
 
 Kansas  State, the top-ranked  team in the latest BCS poll, was handed a 52-24
 loss  by Baylor,  while second-ranked Oregon dropped a 17-14 overtime decision
 to Stanford.
 
 The  outcomes  mean Notre  Dame will  surely jump  from its  No. 3 ranking and
 control  its  destiny in  reaching its  first-ever BCS title  game -- the only
 obstacle left being next week's matchup at USC.
 
 Everett  Golson  threw for a  career-high 346  yards with three touchdowns for
 Notre Dame, which swept its six-game home slate as well.
 
 Cierre  Wood amassed 150 yards and a touchdown on 11 carries, while T.J. Jones
 and  Tyler Eifert  each caught a touchdown  pass and added 97 and 85 receiving
 yards, respectively, on six grabs apiece.
 
 Notre  Dame,  already the top-ranked scoring  defense in the nation coming in,
 pitched  its first  shutout since a 35-0  victory over Nevada on Sept. 5, 2009
 and faces its final regular season test next Saturday at USC.
 
 "We  saved our best for the last home game," Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly
 said.  "The goal for  all of us was to be undefeated this year at home. ... We
 feel really good about the accomplishment."
 
 Wake  Forest (5-6), blanked for the second time this season, went in the hole,
 21-0, in the first quarter and never recovered, getting outgained, 584-209.
 
 Tanner Price completed 22-of-33 passes for 153 yards in the loss.
 
 "This  was  just a day where  Notre Dame was too  much for us to handle," Wake
 Forest head coach Jim Grobe said.
 
 Notre Dame's seniors did not disappoint in their final home game. Theo Riddick
 kept  the  opening drive alive  by taking a swing  pass 24 yards on 3rd-and-11
 from  the 8-yard line. On the next snap, Wood, a fellow senior, took an option
 pitch and sprinted 68 yards for a touchdown.
 
 Senior  linebacker Carlo  Calabrese put a big  hit on Josh Harris and forced a
 fumble on Wake Forest's first possession, and the Irish converted the turnover
 at midfield into a score, as Eifert made a tough 2-yard grab in the end zone.
 
 John  Goodman, also  making his final home appearance, made an acrobatic catch
 on Golson's underthrown 50-yard bomb for yet another score with 4:28 remaining
 in the opening quarter.
 
 Golson  was  intercepted early  in the  second quarter, but  later in the half
 found Jones behind the secondary for a 34-yard TD.
 
 Eifert,  who has  one year left of  eligibility but is expected to declare for
 the  NFL Draft,  caught a 38-yard pass  to set up Kyle Brindza's 25-yard field
 goal just before the break.
 
 George Atkinson III capped a 9-play, 80-yard drive with 3:30 left in the third
 quarter, and the Irish were able to honor their seniors in the final frame.
 
 Kelly  subbed  out a trio  of indelible  defensive players early on, including
 Kapron  Lewis-Moore,  Zeke Motta  and  Heisman  Trophy candidate  Manti  Te'o,
 who helped douse Kelly in Gatorade in the closing seconds.
 
 "That  was our way of showing our appreciation for our head coach," Te'o said.
 "I'm just very lucky to play for him."
 
 
                                   Game Notes
 
 The  Irish posted  their first undefeated home schedule since 1998 and 26th at
 Notre  Dame Stadium ...  Notre Dame has opened a season 11-0 four times in its
 125-year history ... Eifert broke Ken MacAfee's 35-year school record for most
 career receptions by a tight end. He has 130 career catches for 1,710 yards --
 49  yards less  than MacAfee  ... Golson  completed 20-of-30  passes ...  Wake
 Forest  will try  to become bowl eligible  for the fifth time in seven seasons
 next Saturday against Vanderbilt.
 
 11/18 00:06:14 ET

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