Top 10 moments from 2012: No. 4

The No. 4 moment on our countdown marks a long-time coming for the program.

Nov. 17, 2012: Irish rout Wake on Senior Day, ascend to No. 1 (Stories here and here)

A memorable senior class was honored before the game, then Notre Dame scored touchdowns on its first three possessions.

Considering that the Irish had yet to break 20 points in regulation at home in 2012, the 21 early points proved to be more than enough in a 38-0 Senior Day rout of Wake Forest that turned into a weekend-long celebration across campus.

Everett Golson had arguably his best game of the season, completing 20 of 30 passes for 346 yards with three touchdowns and one pick, and he got to watch most of the second half from the sidelines. Manti Te'o, Kapron Lewis-Moore and Zeke Motta all got taken out during a TV timeout, earning a standing ovation.

For a team that had won its previous five home contests by a combined 23 points, this was a welcome relief for the sold-out crowd.

With the Irish's focus switched to winning at rival USC the following week in order to complete a perfect regular season, they then watched No. 1 Kansas State and No. 2 Oregon fall later that night, allowing the program to ascend to the No. 1 ranking.

The top of Grace Hall was lit with the No. 1 sign shortly after, as the Irish celebrated their official return to the top of the college football world.


No. 10: Rees replaces Golson on final drive, leads Irish to win over Purdue

No. 9: Irish open season in Dublin with rout of Navy

No. 8: ND gets revenge on Robinson, UM in night win to cap perfect opening month

No. 7: ND survives missed FG, missed penalty and 3 OT scare from Pitt to stay perfect

No. 6: Notre Dame tours award circuit after perfect regular season

No. 5: Notre Dame joins ACC, will play five ACC games per year in football