Reports of Big Ten expansions surface; Irish looking to remain with ACC

SOUTH BEND, Ind. – As reports broke Saturday night that the Big Ten was again on the verge of expanding, this time to 14 teams, Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick did not want to look too far ahead.

Rutgers and Maryland are reportedly in serious discussions with the Big Ten to leave their respective conferences.

“If this occurs, the timing is a surprise to me,” Swarbrick said after a 38-0 Irish win. “Not the fact of it, but the timing of it is a bit of a surprise.”

If the moves happen, Swarbrick said Notre Dame’s feeling would remain “unchanged” regarding the school’s relationship with the ACC.

“It doesn’t have any impact,” Swarbrick said. “ ... It has absolutely zero impact, and it wouldn’t change anything about our decision-making process.”

Golson rolling: Whenever Notre Dame quarterback Everett Golson dropped back to pass and scanned Wake Forest’s defense, it wasn’t unusual for him to find an open receiver.

Golson, a sophomore, picked apart the Demon Deacons’ defense, and he beat them on a variety of throws. Twice Golson connected on a jump ball to his receiver for a touchdown, including one that went for 50 yards, and added a third touchdown pass after a perfectly executed pump fake. Golson finished 20 for 30 with 346 passing yards – in only 2 1⁄2 quarters.

“It required a lot of film study and different looks like that,” Golson said. “But it’s really a team, we really prepared this whole week and we came out and executed.”

Tommy Rees replaced Golson in the third quarter with the Irish holding a comfortable 31-0 lead against Wake Forest.

“Obviously he’s a guy that can make explosive plays,” Irish coach Brian Kelly said. “He’s got the ability to throw it. He can run the football, he’s elusive. I think we’re seeing a guy that’s growing each and every week.

“He’s definitely on the right path to providing us the offense we need.”

Notre Dame needed a strong performance from Golson and he came through during a dazzling first half. His 317 passing yards in the first half set a new career high while 12 of his first 14 completions resulted in first downs.

Eifert sets record: Irish senior tight end Tyler Eifert’s final home game at Notre Dame Stadium added significance.

Eifert set a Notre Dame record for receptions by a tight end. His 130th catch of the season came midway through the third quarter. The previous school record was held by Ken MacAfee (128, 1974-77).

“I was really happy to have [the record], but just happy that I don’t have to think about it anymore,” Eifert said. “Because you can say what you want and not think about it, but you know right where you are.”

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