Blue and Gold Illustrated

December 2022

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

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30 DECEMBER 2022 BLUE & GOLD ILLUSTRATED NOTRE DAME HEAD COACH MARCUS FREEMAN … On the emotions after a tough loss: "They're a dang good football team. We have a really good football team and that's the disappointing thing. You want to see when two re- ally good football teams both play really well. You want to see what the outcome is like, but we take our hats off to them and wish them the best." On playing catch-up all night: "It's difficult to catch up to any team when you're not able to stop their offense. It's extremely difficult and we weren't able to do that. At critical points of the game there were a couple of times we got a stop, but at other critical points of the game we weren't able to get a stop." On what Notre Dame did well: "We were still efficient in what we were doing. When you're not able to run the ball well or as well as you want, you have to be able to throw the ball and I thought we threw the ball really well." On his message to the team: "I'm proud of the way our team continued to progress, continued to fight, and continued to get better. No, it's not over. We have one left. We didn't win today, but they played their hearts out. As I told them in the locker room, I'm proud of the way they played because they never quit. "They continue to get better when they could have shut down after Week 2. That could have gone in an opposite direc- tion. And after Week 6 when we lost to Stanford, it could have gone in a bad direction, but these leaders and these guys con- tinue to fight and they'll fight after this one. It hurts because you gave it your all, but our leaders will keep us together." NOTRE DAME JUNIOR QUARTERBACK DREW PYNE … On his immediate takeaway following the defeat: "I think USC is a great team. That was a really good team we played out there. They're going to go on and do great things with their season. Caleb Williams is a great player. Their de- fense is good. "Like I said, they are a great team, but so are we. They just got the best of us tonight." On the team's mindset after the loss: "We still have a lot to play for. We're going to be in a bowl game and I want to send all the seniors out the right way. We have another game and we're going to prepare as hard as we can and finish the season on a positive note. "That's going to be my focus for the next month and I'm proud of how we fought today. I'm proud of how we fought all season. I'm really proud of our team. In a month, when the game comes up, we're gonna finish the right way." On his rapport with sophomore wide receivers Deion Colzie and Lorenzo Styles: "I think it's great for them. They're two young guys who just work their tails off non-stop. We work in practice, and after practice, throwing back shoul- ders. I worked out with Deion during the week throwing a high ball up to him in the red zone. "Those guys just come to work every single day with a positive attitude. They're silly guys who like to have fun and they're some of my best friends. So that chemistry of being close with them as receivers, I think translates on the field, along with all the work that we put in during the week." NOTRE DAME SENIOR LINEBACKER JD BERTRAND … On USC quarterback Caleb Williams: "You guys saw his ability to extend plays, and I think that was one of the biggest things; his ability to keep plays alive even though it should really be a dead play. Caleb is able to escape the pocket and keep going. "It led to extra pass yards as well as led to him getting ex- plosive runs. That is one of the biggest things that we needed to stop." On the difficulties of defending the run while ac- counting for Williams: "We need to be better there. But as well, that's part of facing a dual-threat QB. A lot of times we're outnumbered because they have the threat to run the quarterback. "So we can't go one for one on blocks. We have to be able to get off blocks and make those plays." On continuing to battle back: "One of the biggest things was just the offense. The offense was able to keep us in it and were able to respond when we needed to respond and keep it at that 10-point margin. Then we obviously needed to do our part and be able to contain them." FROM THE LOCKER ROOM Junior quarterback Drew Pyne threw for a career-high 318 yards against the Trojans. PHOTO BY MEG OLIPHANT

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