Blue and Gold Illustrated

Sept. 26, 2016

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

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Page 30 of 55 SEPT. 26, 2016 31 Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly … On the defensive performance: "We had great situ- ation there late to make a couple tackles, and we just simply didn't make it. Those are the guys we have. We can't trade them; they're not getting cut. We recruited them — I told our staff, 'Those are our guys, so we've have to get them better. We've got to put them in better position to make plays.' "Give Michigan State credit — they broke through some tackles, and they deserved to win today." On Michigan State fifth-year senior quarterback Tyler O'Connor: "I think he will do fine. I think he man- ages what he's asked to do. He threw the ball down the field. "He's a smart kid and has a couple of games under his belt. He's had some big games for them, so I think he's going to be fine." Notre Dame junior quarterback DeShone Kizer … On the loss: "We focus on winning each week and didn't come out successful. It hurts as much as any other loss we've had. "In a rivalry game against a team like Michigan State, we like to protect our house, and obviously that's not what we did." On the Michigan State defense: "They're exactly what we expected. They pressured just as we expected them to pressure. They did a really good job of holding their shelves, but we had outs. "That's my biggest thing is every situation there was an 'out' for me to get to, whether it be checking a play or simply throwing the ball out or getting us to the right run play. There was always an out for whatever look they gave us, and I didn't necessarily execute those outs. It's that simple." On the fourth-and-seven punt late in the game: "In that situation, [the coaches are] talking a lot more than I am on the field, so they understand it a little bit more than I do. I just assumed that it was going to be the last drive, so I figured we were going to go for it on fourth. "But the way that the time situation was set up if we do go out there and get a stop on the first [set of downs on] Michigan State's drive, we probably get an opportu- nity to go down and score again." On the turning point in the game: "I don't know if there is an exact time. We had a couple of turnovers that second quarter with the punting situation, and a fumble and then a move on a pick. All those things add up. In a game like this you can't do that. "Along those lines, I'm a true believer that every drive is its own independent drive. So to say that it got away from us at a single point would be wrong. … We've just have to execute what we do." Notre Dame senior linebacker James Onwualu … On his message to the team going forward: "For me, it's do they take any pride in their own name? Even though we have two losses already, another loss is unac- ceptable, just like any other loss. "It's just getting guys focused on this next game and trying to make a couple changes to fix what we've seen in the first couple weeks." On sloppy defensive play: "We've got to clean it up. There's penalties that we had, and there's a bunch of stuff that went wrong. "Continuing to clean up those things throughout the game and in practice is important." Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio … On the win: "Great football game tonight, great win for us down here at Notre Dame and a great environ- ment. Basically excited about our football team and what we were able to accomplish. "I thought we needed to win on toughness. I thought we did that. We had to be able to run the football, and we were able to do that." — David McKinney FROM THE LOCKER ROOM Senior linebacker James Onwualu, who made five tackles (one for loss) against the Spartans, said the Irish need to focus on cleaning up their sloppy defensive play. PHOTO BY BILL PANZICA

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