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Blue & Gold Illustrated

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Page 28 of 55 OCT. 7, 2019 29 NOTRE DAME HEAD COACH BRIAN KELLY … On senior defensive end Julian Okwara's performance: "I love what Julian did. He got back to playing re- ally physical football. "I think Julian would tell you that maybe the whole kind of sack thing was too much of a personal thing [statistically], and he got back to playing physical football and within the realm of the defense. It really showed itself today, and he's going to take off from here." On how the offense performed: "I'm not standing up here and telling you we have found ourselves offen- sively. We have not. We're far from where we want to be. "We have got a lot of things to sort out and figure out offensively, per- sonnel, but what we did is we gave Tony Jones a break. So, he ran hard ... particularly the third and fourth quarters." On Myron Tagovailoa-Amosa's fumble recovery and 48-yard run off it: "If you pull for anybody, you pull for a guy like Myron. A lot of this is about they love their team- mates, they love the way they play, they love the fact that — obviously he's a guy that played so well last week and then he gets rewarded this week and, God, he almost got to the end zone, too. "But I think it's more about the guys that are rewarded for the hard work and being a great teammate. He was injured last year and he's having great success this year." NOTRE DAME SENIOR RUNNING BACK TONY JONES JR. … On how it feels to run for more than 100 yards and three touch- downs: "I'm on top of the world. I feel good. I've been grinding hard. I've been in the weight room hard. "I've been practicing really hard and it's just showing out on the field." On how important the final run touchdown drive was: "Coach wanted us to keep running the ball and just slow down the game, really. And then I busted out and I was like, 'Hey man, this is the cherry on top. Forget it.'" NOTRE DAME SENIOR DEFENSIVE END JAMIR JONES … It has to feel good to have your opportunity and show what you are capable of: "Yes it felt really good, I have been working with Khalid [Kareem] and all those guys, Daelin [Hayes] and Julian [Okwara]. "We have all been making each other better. It was just a very good coming-out party for us." On going two games as a group without a sack: "We definitely knew we had to pick it up and show that we are the best defensive line in the country. We do not look at the num- bers, that's not a big thing for us. "We just want to come out on top in each and every game." NOTRE DAME JUNIOR DEFENSIVE TACKLE MYRON TAGOVAILOA-AMOSA … On the defensive game plan: "The plan was to contain the quar- terback, [who was] a big threat in the run game. Jamir Jones stepped up, stepped in and made a big play attacking the quarterback, and I was in the right position at the right time. "It was a dream honestly, running with the ball, catching the ball, that's a defensive lineman's dream. I just need to finish that dream by getting into the end zone, which I didn't, but hopefully will get another opportu- nity again." On if there was something about Perkins that made him more vul- nerable to a strip-sack: "Watching film, when he scrambles, he was loose with the ball, but at the same time he is really athletic so we had to focus on containing him — and when we did, try [to] get hands on the ball." NOTRE DAME JUNIOR TIGHT END COLE KMET … On where the Irish offense can improve the most: "I think just put- ting four quarters together in total. We'll have spurts, like [we did] at the end of the fourth quarter. We did really well, and we'll have quarters here and there where we don't really do much. "So, I think just putting a four- quarter game together, of being able to run and pass the ball efficiently, is the next step for us." On how much of an impact the tight ends have on the run game: "For sure. We're doing a lot of communi- cating with the tackles and guards, and it's our job to seal the linebackers, seal the defensive end. We definitely play a huge part in that." NOTRE DAME SENIOR DEFENSIVE END KHALID KAREEM … On if the defense felt like it needed to take control: "We have the mentality that if we're up, all we have to do as a defense is to stop the offense from scoring. "If our offense, if they don't score another point and we keep our op- ponents to zero, then we're good, we'll win." On the defense recording eight sacks, the most in the Brian Kelly era: "It's pretty exciting, but we've got to stay consistent and don't let this be a one-time thing, have the same preparation week in and week out, and the production will come." — Andrew Mentock and Vince DeDario FROM THE LOCKER ROOM Senior defensive end Khalid Kareem accounted for 2.5 sacks among his three tackles versus the Cavaliers. PHOTO BY ANDRIS VISOCKIS

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