Blue and Gold Illustrated

Nov. 9, 2019

Blue & Gold Illustrated: America's Foremost Authority on Notre Dame Football

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Page 26 of 55 NOV. 9, 2019 27 NOTRE DAME HEAD COACH BRIAN KELLY … On if this game is a pivotal moment for the season: "I think we can build off of this. Ian Book can have a lot of great things happen for him. He was back to throwing the football with much more authority, confidence. "That was [an] 18-play drive. There's eight guys in cov- erage. [Book] did a great job. He hasn't done that in his career here, so that's a first for him. He can build off that." On how he felt Book handled the "noise" this week: "It was way overblown. Notre Dame, for him, is so impor- tant and Notre Dame means so much to him, and being the quarterback here, that he handled it so well. "He came in my office on Sunday, Monday. And I thought he did some things this week in practice that al- lowed us to reach some areas that we hadn't been able to reach before, and I thought we saw signs of it and I think he's only going to get better from it." NOTRE DAME SENIOR QUARTERBACK IAN BOOK … On all the outside criticism he heard regarding his play this week: "When you come to Notre Dame and play quarterback, they're going to love you when you win and they're going to hate you when you lose. "That's part of growing up, part of [maturing], but again, I only care about the guys on the team — that's it. It's about blocking the noise and playing for each other." NOTRE DAME JUNIOR TIGHT END COLE KMET … On if he was surprised with the call for a designed- quarterback run at the end of the game: "I wasn't sur- prised. It was just Ian being Ian at the end. Ian led us down the field and he took the finishing touches there. "We just trust Coach [Chip] Long with it and if he sees something, he isn't afraid to run the ball." On the right side of the offensive line with Josh Lugg and Trevor Ruhland now starting due to injuries: "They work so hard in practice and they are with the 'ones' all the time in the film room and everything. They didn't miss a beat. "I was making calls with Josh as I would be with Rob. They do a good job coming to practice and that really shows when it's their time to step in." NOTRE DAME FIFTH-YEAR SENIOR RIGHT GUARD TREVOR RUHLAND … On the look on Book's face was after that touchdown: "He is such a handsome guy. I love to see him smile. It makes him even more handsome." On what this ride is like for him when people thought he wouldn't be back this fall: "I wasn't sure if I was able to play. This spring was very hard for me. I was coming in hopefully getting the starting center spot — waiting my four years for it — but injuries derailed that. "I am beat up, I am not going to lie to you. I have been told not to play, I shouldn't play because I have the knee of an 80-year-old. I couldn't give up. I came back for mo- ments like this." On what this does for the mood of the team moving forward: "Everything is always better when you win. Your body feels better after a win. Food is better when you win." NOTRE DAME SENIOR DEFENSIVE END JULIAN OKWARA … On what a win means after the loss to Michigan last week: "At the beginning of the year, we talked about this warrior mindset and being able to go out there and be able to stop the ball, stop the offense and give our offense a chance to go out there and score. "It really tests our character and how much we love each other." On whether he felt like they had their physicality back: "I feel like our defense definitely dominated their offense a lot. Going out there and playing physical and staying in our gaps and stay within the game plan. Next -man-in mindset." NOTRE DAME FIFTH-YEAR SENIOR CORNERBACK SHAUN CRAWFORD … On how the team was feeling after the game: "Amaz- ing. We feel pretty confident. We feel just joyful, especially after the last week's game. We wanted to come out and establish our identity and just let everyone know that this is still the same Notre Dame team that they saw in the beginning of the year." NOTRE DAME SENIOR CORNERBACK TROY PRIDE JR. … On gutting out a win: "You're going to face adversity. Everything's not going to be perfect. But when you fight back and you can be competitive through it all, not just the good times, the bad times, the in-between, all that, that's when you're a real competitor." — Andrew Mentock and Vince DeDario FROM THE LOCKER ROOM Junior tight end Cole Kmet opened the scoring with an eight-yard touch- down, his fifth of the season. He is one short of tying Ken MacAfee's single- season school-record for tight ends set in 1977. PHOTO BY ANDRIS VISOCKIS

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