Five keys for a Notre Dame football victory against Wake Forest on Senior Day

Notre Dame football finishes off its home schedule today, as they host Wake Forest at 3:30 p.m. ET on its home network NBC.

It’s actually a double-header of Irish sports on the network, as the women’s basketball team hosts Illinois right before the football teams kicks off. The second half of the action is what we all want to see, the return of Notre Dame football on our screens.

For the second time this season, the Irish had a bye and we had to get by, but they are back. That’s means this column makes its return as well as I look at my five keys for Notre Dame to get back to its winning ways.

Notre Dame can’t come out rusty


Many teams don’t have the luxury of having two bye weeks, but since the Irish played a week zero game, they did. The team learned how to deal with it once, and came out and waxed Pittsburgh at home. This is almost the same exact scenario, an under-matched opponent in Notre Dame Stadium. The Irish shouldn’t have any issues with bye week rustiness.

Sam Hartman returns to playing quality football


This last home game of his storied college career, Sam Hartman faces off against his former team. You just can’t make this stuff up. The senior transfer isn’ thawing the season he envisioned, but has one more opportunity in front of the Irish home fans to impress. Hartman should do exactly that, reminding everyone the kind of quarterback he is.

Notre Dame defense doesn’t fall for gimmicky Wake Forest offense


This won’t happen due to one reason, Hartman. He has intricate knowledge of how this offense is run, and there may be a few tweaks here and there, but for the most part, it should remain similar. One other factor, the Demon Deacon’s miss Hartman, his replacements haven’t nearly been as effective. The Irish defense has already seen one gimmicky offense this year, Navy, but passed that test with flying colors.

Ride the Baby Bus Audric Estime to victory


This season, the Irish’s best offensive player has been Audric Estime and they need to ride the Baby Bus to a victory. He is Pro Football Focus’ highest graded running back this season, and he’s got plenty of gas left in his tank. Getting him 15-20 touches is a must, but can’t forget about him as the game continues.

Stop Wake Forest’s rushing attack


In all of but one of Wake Forest’s losses this year, their leading rusher has been held to under 100 yards. This Irish defense has the ability to do the same, and could very well do that. In every Notre Dame loss this year, the opponent has rushed for over 100 yards. Keep the Deacons ground game under wraps and the Irish should end up with a win.

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Story originally appeared on Fighting Irish Wire