Blue and Gold Illustrated

Oct. 7, 2013 Issue

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

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Page 27 of 111

Stepping Up Junior Cam McDaniel has emerged as Notre Dame's go-to running back in the fourth quarter I By Andrew Owens n consecutive weeks with the game on the line in the fourth quarter, Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly turned to running back Cam McDaniel to help put the Irish into the win column. The Scripture-subscribing junior offers a Bible passage from Proverbs to explain how a Coppell, Texas, native ended up at Notre Dame and how he has become the featured option when the team needs to secure a victory. "A man determines his ways in his heart and the Lord determines his steps," said McDaniel, citing Proverbs 16:9. With the Irish leading Purdue 31‑24 and 7:22 remaining in the fourth quarter, McDaniel's number was called 10 times in a drive that ran out the clock and clinched the Notre Dame victory. A week later, he received all 10 fourth-quarter carries and scored the game-winning touchdown in a 17-13 victory over Michigan State as Notre Dame's de facto closer. "We all love the way he attacks the line of scrimmage," said Kelly, who shifted McDaniel to cornerback in the spring of 2012 before moving him back to offense later in the year. "He's a kid that plays with a great deal of passion. He loves the game ... You really enjoy watching him and pull for a kid like that." During the offseason, following the graduation of Theo Riddick and Cierre Wood, McDaniel's name was often lost in the running back discussion. Most Irish followers focused on the other two juniors, George Atkinson III and Amir Carlisle, and intriguing freshmen backs Greg Bryant and Tarean Folston. "He's not forgotten by me," running backs coach Tony Alford insisted during fall camp. "He's as tough as they come. He's a tough, dependable guy. He's been a great leader in that room, and for that I'm grateful to have him in there. You know every single day that he's going to throw his body around. He's relentless, and he really has no regard for his body and well being. "He plays the game the way it's supposed to be played. He's another guy we feel comfortable playing in the game and making plays." This season, McDaniel led the Irish in carries one-third of the way

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