Blue and Gold Illustrated

February 2014 Issue

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

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Page 69 of 111

MURPHY'S LAW DAN MURPHY Grinding Wins Are Wearing Thin Head coach Brian Kelly believes his program needs to consistently reach 10 wins a season to be considered successful, a goal that would be more attainable if the Irish don't have to scratch out every victory. I t was the kind of game only a lineman could love. Notre Dame slogged its way to a 29-16 victory over a mediocre Rutgers team Dec. 28 in the Bronx, N.Y., on a sloppy field at Yankee Stadium. The two teams combined to attempt nearly as many field goals (nine) as the Rutgers offense had total completions (10). It was a "let's get this over with" finale to what often felt like a "let's get this over with" season. To fifth-year senior left tackle Zack Martin, a deserving recipient of the game's MVP award, it was a thing of beauty. "It's satisfying for a [offensive] line- PHOTO BY BILL PANZICA man," he said while seated front and center at the pressroom dais, a little unsure of what to do about deflecting the MVP questions normally reserved for quarterbacks or star playmakers. "… That was our team this year. If you look at a lot of our wins, we didn't blow a lot of teams out. We grinded them out." Martin led the grinding force that paced Notre Dame to many of its 21 wins in the last two seasons. Scratching out victories without the frills of a high-powered offense or explosive highlights has become a calling card for the Irish under Brian Kelly. It's a brand that they're proud of, and one they would like to shed sooner rather

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