Blue and Gold Illustrated

Sept. 10, 2022*

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

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Page 29 of 55

30 SEPT. 10, 2022 BLUE & GOLD ILLUSTRATED NOTRE DAME HEAD COACH MARCUS FREEMAN … On field position: "One of our keys was the battle of field position. That's huge. We obviously don't want to start the drive from inside the 20-yard line. We got to fix our kickoff return unit. We wanted to be aggressive. "If they were going to give us a ball to return, we were going to return it. But the execution wasn't what we wanted it to be. So, we have to clean that up. If we're not going to return it outside the 20, we have to make fair catches." On the team's mentality while up 10-7: "I don't think we were trying to preserve a lead. We were trying to continue to find ways to score and prevent them from scoring. That's out mindset. We can't preserve anything. "We have to continue to attack. We have to run the football. That wasn't something we were able to do in the second half as well as we were in the first half. That's what we really have to improve on." On graduate student offensive lineman Jarrett Pat- terson not playing: "We'll go back and watch the film. Ob- viously when you don't have an All-American out there, it's not just a physical loss but also a mental, emotional loss that you lose not having an All-American, a two-year captain on the field. "I'm proud of [Andrew] Kristofic. I think [Michael] Car- mody got in there and played well. We'll learn from it. But if you can't handle having the loss of one guy, then we're not going to be able to win as many games as we want to." On Ohio State quarterback C.J. Stroud's playmak- ing ability: "He hit three or four when he was going out of bounds. I'm looking at him and in my mind I'm saying, 'There is no way that's a completion.' "Hats off to him. There is a reason why he's a Heisman Tro- phy candidate. He's a heck of a football player and on a really good team." On running the ball on first down: "That's exactly what we wanted to do. That was our plan going into the game; be able to control the clock, limit their offensive possessions and run the football. That was our mindset going into this game. Those are what our keys to victory were. "And we executed. It was a 10-7 game until seconds left in the third quarter. We knew we weren't going to try to outscore them. We had a plan to try to control the ball, run the ball and keep the clock running." NOTRE DAME SENIOR LINEBACKER JACK KISER … On Ohio State's surge in the second half: "We just weren't executing late in the game. In a big game against a really good opponent, you have to find ways no matter where the momentum is and make sure you make those plays at the standard we have. "That just didn't happen in those certain situations." On Ohio State time of possession edge in the second half: "Those plays are key. We have to make something hap- pen. And they didn't go our way. It just kept drawing out. We have to do a better job of getting the ball back to our offense and giving them a chance. "The defense, we're going to own that. That's something we have to work on and make sure never happens again." SOPHOMORE QUARTERBACK TYLER BUCHNER … On Matt Salerno's circus catch: "I was juiced. Matt Salerno, former walk-on, he's a stud on the team. He's one of our best receivers. He made a huge play. "It was huge. It led to a scoring drive. I was thankful he came down with it." On the Notre Dame offensive line: "My offensive line is really good. They played really well tonight. They battled all night. They battled all night. "It's my job to protect myself and get myself in the right protection." On Notre Dame's untimely second-half timeouts: "Little bit of crowd noise, little bit of just working the com- munication stuff. That's another one of those little things we just have to clean up." On the Notre Dame wide receivers' quiet game: "Me and the young receiving corps feel pretty good. That's just how games work. If they're in the right spot and run the right route against certain coverage, that's what happens." On Notre Dame's lone touchdown drive: "I think at the end of the day, it comes down to the little things and the little details. We were taking care of the little things on that drive. Everyone including me was doing the little things. "The reason why it wasn't clicking in the second half was because of those same little things." FROM THE LOCKER ROOM Senior linebacker Jack Kiser (right) had 6 tackles for the Fighting Irish, which was second on the team behind junior cornerback Clarence Lewis. PHOTO BY CHAD WEAVER

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