NewsCenter 16 is counting down to the National Championship game by re-living each game of the 2012 Notre Dame Football Season. Each sportscast until the New Year, will look back at a game from the season with extended highlights, storylines and postgame reaction.
Monday night, we turned our attention to Notre Dame's senior day game against Wake Forest.
Cierre Wood was quick to get the scoring started on the first series of the game with a 68-yard burst. Three plays later, Wake tailback Josh Harris fumbled after a hard hit by Irish linebacker Carlo Calabrese and safety Zeke Motta recovered. Harris didn’t play for the rest of the game because of a head injury.
Everett Golson kept the Irish going with his best passing game of the season, he went on to throw three touchdown passes in the first half. Wood would then rush for a total of 150 yards on 11 carries while Tyler Eifert had six catches, giving him 130 for his career and breaking the school record of 128 set in 1977 by Ken MacAfee.
For the first time since 1999, Notre Dame was undefeated at home after clinching a 38-0 victory over Wake. They only needed to beat USC to finish the regular season with an unblemished record.
Coach Brian Kelly ended the day with a sendoff for Manti and the other seniors on the team. Te’o says the moment was quote, “Just magic.”
“He could’ve just as easily taken us out, and not even put us on the field but it was a TV time out and he told us okay, I’m going to send you guys out there and then I’ll call a time out. And one by one I’m going to sub you guys out as your little farewell,” Te’o said completely draped in leis after playing his final game at Notre Dame Stadium.
"I wanted to make it a special moment for the seniors on defense. They have been obviously the rock. They've carried us while we were trying to find ourselves offensively," Kelly said. "It just seemed to me to be a pretty good gesture to allow us to honor those seniors."
“And that’s the type of coach that Coach Kelly is,” Te’o said, “I’m just very lucky to play for him.”