Irish aim for perfect home slate

November, 14, 2012
11/14/12
2:35
PM ET
Brian Kelly is very aware that his Notre Dame team can accomplish something that hasn't been done in more than a decade.

No, not play for a national title (though that's still very much in the picture). But complete a perfect home season.

A win Saturday against Wake Forest would complete the Irish's first undefeated slate at Notre Dame Stadium since 1998.

Even if they have played bad at home, by this year's championship standards.

Ten of Notre Dame's 13 turnovers this season have come at home, where the Irish have won five games by 23 total points, needing four total overtime periods to attain them. By comparison, they have won two games away from home by more than that margin, and they have won at both Michigan State and Oklahoma at night by 17 apiece.

Surprisingly enough, it was the Sooners who underscored the importance of home-field protection for Kelly.

"One of our goals, a tangible goal for us, was to protect our home field," Kelly said. "I think everybody in the program felt that if you want to take that next step in terms of success, you've got to win at home. I think we all talked about the statistics of Oklahoma, and the numbers were mind-boggling in terms their home field advantage until we beat them. We want to have that kind of legacy. We want to build that kind of dominance at home.

"The first step is winning all your games at home, which hasn't happened in a long time. So we actually talked about that yesterday, how important it is for us to finish the season undefeated at home. Our guys know that as a real goal."

Kelly said establishing that kind of home dominance -- Oklahoma has lost just five home games in the Bob Stoops era -- is something he hopes to do if he is employed long enough.

The man who controls his fate, athletic director Jack Swarbrick, is probably just happy that other ADs aren't telling him that they love playing at Notre Dame, something he said this summer that he got frequently.

Matt Fortuna | email

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