Blue and Gold Illustrated

Oct.10, 2016

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

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Page 30 of 55 OCT. 10, 2016 31 Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly … On the importance of upperclassmen on defense: "They had to do their job, too. I thought [fifth-year se- nior nose guard] Jarron Jones and [junior nose guard] Daniel Cage played well, and obviously we had big [junior defensive lineman] Pete Mokwuah ready to get a chance — then he gets hurt on Thursday. But all of those guys, the whole rotation, contributed. "[Sophomore safety] Nicco Fertitta wasn't getting any reps ,and he played a significant role in what happened out there. It was a good team defensive effort with a lot of guys playing." Notre Dame junior quarterback DeShone Kizer … On how he's getting back to having fun in the game: "It's 100 percent attitude. The whole team had smiles on their faces. We're dancing on the sidelines, and we're smiling. "We're getting back to what we should've been doing this whole season, which is playing the game." On what was better in the second half: "In the second half, we were able to put together drives. In the first half, we got a bunch of highlights. One-play, two-play drives. What we need right now is a way to be sustainable in our defense and offense. The second half was a good example. "This is the sloppiest 50 points I've ever been a part of, the sloppiest 400-plus pass game I've ever been a part of, but we're having fun and a good time. There's still so much room for improvement." On if he thinks the defense is getting better: "We really evolved as the game went on, and that's going to stay with us as we move forward. In that second half on defense, we were just out flying around. Playing the way they played is what we're going to see consistently. "The second half showed that. They were able to learn from their mistakes [in the first half]and stop them from scoring." Notre Dame senior defensive end Isaac Rochell … On what was changed after halftime: "Just the atti- tude. We knew we were going to just come out and play and enjoy what we were doing. That's what we did, and we played really well." On the defense: "It was an interesting week, but we did check a lot of boxes. The biggest thing that killed us early was the penalties. I had two offsides, and two other defensive linemen had offsides. That kind of stuff doesn't help. "But we have a lot of positive takeaways." Notre Dame sophomore wide receiver Equanimeous St. Brown … On big plays in the game plan: "We always try to take shots on the field. That's just what type of offense we are. We have great receivers that can go deep and get the ball. "We always try to take our shots and are expected to make the plays." Syracuse head coach Dino Babers … On the loss to Notre Dame: "There are going to be so many small mistakes that turn into big mistakes when you're playing a team with the caliber of athletes that the University of Notre Dame has along with the fine job Coach Kelly has done. It's going to be extremely dif- ficult to beat a team like that when you make as many mistakes as we made. "Those guys were a top-10 team when the season started. Their record may not show it, but they still have the same personnel and the same coaches. It was unfor- tunate that we couldn't play a better game." FROM THE LOCKER ROOM For the second time this season, fifth-year senior defensive lineman Jarron Jones (94) blocked an extra point attempt that resulted in a two-point conver- sion return for the Fighting Irish. PHOTO BY RICK KIMBALL

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