Blue and Gold Illustrated

Nov. 12, 2022

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

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28 NOV. 12, 2022 BLUE & GOLD ILLUSTRATED HEAD COACH MARCUS FREEMAN … On what he did right after the game: "I went to the coaches' locker room and gave them hugs. Man, it's an honor to work with those guys. They truly prepare their tails off. You know what? Just like the players, coaching staff, the ups and the downs, they just work their tails off. "It's an honor to coach with these guys, too. I went to the locker room and went to the coach's locker room and gave them hugs and told them how much I appreciate them." On sharing the moment with his players: "Notre Dame attracts a special individual, right? It takes a selfless individual to thrive in a place like this that understands it's bigger than yourself. I think that's the beauty of being here. "We got a whole bunch of kids that want to be national champions, first-round picks, but they're selfless and they understand about the bigger picture, that it's bigger than themselves. That's why it's a joy to coach them. Every day those position coaches have to reinforce that message." On Benjamin Morrison's big night: "Just a mentally tough kid. Got a PI called against him and comes back and gets an interception; and got a ball caught on him and then comes back and gets a pick-6. "You know, credit to his parents. He has a special set of parents. Dad played in the NFL for a while, but also he is a minister and helps him spiritually and mentally stay in the right mindset. His mother is just an incredible woman that has raised a couple gymnasts and it's, to me, a reflection of his upbringing. "He's an ultimate competitor that doesn't get shaken. It's really uncommon for a freshman to be like that." On quarterback Drew Pyne: "Man, he's a winner, and he has to be unselfish and continue not to look at stats, just look at, 'Do I do the things necessary for us to win?' And he did. He took care of the football. "When we decided to throw the ball, he did. He took some shots. Really ran the play clock efficiently. There are a lot of the things he'll be able to build off from this one, and he's doing a great job leading our offense." FRESHMAN CORNERBACK BENJAMIN MORRISON … On his first interception: "I've been taught here when you're in that situation, always undercut everything. Knowing I got help over the top, [I'm] supposed to undercut it. "I knew if he threw it he would have to pay for it, so I was just praying he was throwing it because the receiver got me off the line. I knew I had to use my speed to catch up. Once I was in the position I was, undercut it and there was the ball." On his second interception: "That was kind of cool be- cause I've been struggling with that position all year long. Back shoulder fade, back shoulder fade, just getting my eyes back. So today I was really just focused on the details. "Once I had them in the position I wanted to, I could have just played to the man. But I trusted my abilities and put my head around there. There the ball was, so, yeah." On his confidence for a freshman: "I wouldn't say cocky. I would say very confident just because I know the player I can be and who God has called me to be. "All week I knew what type of game this was and I knew they were going to test me off the previous games on what I've shown on film. I knew I had to lock in and hone in on what I wanted to accomplish." JUNIOR TIGHT END MICHAEL MAYER … On family and friends in attendance: "It was awesome to have my brother here. [He's] playing at Arkansas State this year for a fifth year and this is their bye week. For him to be able to come this game, I think is his second game of my career here he's been able to come to. Very, very special. "I grew up playing every single sport with that guy and he's taught me a lot of things. I had like 35 people here, so there was a lot people here who got to witness that touchdown, which is really cool. I'm very grateful that all my family and friends got to be here." On his fourth-quarter touchdown: "To be honest with you, I didn't know that play call was coming. I thought we were going to run the ball. We kind of got that call in and Drew kind of looked at it and he was like, 'Are we passing it right now?' "We just ran the ball for however many yards. I was, 'Yeah, dude. Let's go. Let's do it. This is our last chance to do to this game. Let's do it.' I think Drew knew that ball was going to come to me the entire way." On the ovations after the game: "Awesome. Awesome. Well overdue, right? Our fans were awesome tonight. Fantas- tic. I was walking over and saw them all huddling up there. I kind of pumped them up in the tunnel a little bit. They were all going crazy. "Our fans deserve this win. You know, it's been a little bit of an up and down season, to say the least. We've been working hard, kept our head down, and done what we need to do, and I'm happy the outcome was what it was today." FROM THE LOCKER ROOM Junior tight end Michael Mayer caught 4 passes for 44 yards and a touch- down. The scoring grab was the 16th of his career, which set a new school record for TD catches by a tight end. PHOTO BY CHAD WEAVER

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