Blue and Gold Illustrated

December 2018

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

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Page 28 of 47 DECEMBER 2018 29 NOTRE DAME HEAD COACH BRIAN KELLY … On the mindset on the sidelines: "The sideline was confident that they just needed to stay the course. There wasn't any panic. Our defense felt like they needed to play better. "We made some adjustments and hit some calls we needed to get off the field. I thought we came out in the second half with the big run. We found a way to run the ball which kept them off the field." On winning 12 games: "They're all difficult because you deal with distractions. There is so much in so- cial media and so much can distract you from the process on a day-to- day basis. "It just makes it hard. Our kids did a great job of sticking with it and not getting outside of that. This was the hardest of the three." NOTRE DAME JUNIOR QUARTERBACK IAN BOOK … On the feeling of being 12-0: "It feels great. It's really hard to de- scribe how it feels. I'm proud of everybody. "Our hard work has paid off, and it's a night I'll definitely remember forever." On the keys to making the come- back: "On offense, it was just about getting our playmakers a shot. I thought our offensive line did a great job tonight. "We regrouped, and everyone just did their job. That's what we needed to do." NOTRE DAME SENIOR WIDE RECEIVER CHRIS FINKE … On what allows different wide receivers to emerge each week: "The team in general preaches a next man in philosophy — just un- derstanding that your time could be any time. In the receiver room in particular, everybody is so under- standing and unselfish. Whoever is accumulating the stats, it's great. We're all happy for them. "Wherever the opportunities are, we're all happy for each other, and we understand that in practice every day if we put in the work, our time will come whenever. It's a good feel- ing when it's yours, and it's a good feeling when it's someone else's too." On his touchdown: "I had a cor- ner route. The nickel was playing off coverage on me, I had a little room on the sideline, Ian put up a good ball and I wasn't sure if I was in or not. "They ruled me in, and I'll take it." NOTRE DAME FIFTH-YEAR SENIOR CENTER SAM MUSTIPHER … On avoiding frustration early: "It's just the training we've done all year. We've been in games like this before. It was a slugfest, and we knew it would be. "We have confidence in our coaches to put us in great position to make plays. It was just a matter of time before something happened for us." On the message from running backs coach Autry Denson at half- time: "Let's just finish the game. Do what we've been doing. He does a great job with those running backs, and we love those guys. "They played big tonight." NOTRE DAME FIFTH-YEAR SENIOR LINEBACKER DRUE TRANQUILL … On the win: "To come in here and have a game that wasn't easy, I think it's just a testament to this team and everything we've built for the past year. We had to fight. "It was their Senior Night and they were playing for that. They were playing for a bowl bid and for what happened last year. They had a lot to play for. We had to come out and match their intensity. It was such a special moment there at the end." On handling adversity: "We're a really cool, calm and collected team. I guess an example, I just looked over at Julian Love. He was smiling and getting his breath, getting some water, and we knew we were going to go out there and get a stop. "We just trusted each other, and we know the result before it hap- pened." NOTRE DAME JUNIOR CORNERBACK JULIAN LOVE … On process of keeping faith fol- lowing the 2016 season: "Two years ago, we were leaving here sad. I cried because our seniors, I thought they deserved more. We immedi- ately got to work. We were con- stantly building. "Throughout this whole season we were building. We knew you don't get second chances often, and this was our second chance." On if there was some anxiety during the USC game: "Oh, for sure. Nothing got handed to us. USC was struggling this year, but they weren't going to hand it to us. "They had a bowl game on the line, so we had to adjust and take it. That anxiety and that angst was there a little bit at first." — Corey Bodden and David McKinney FROM THE LOCKER ROOM Junior cornerback Julian Love led Notre Dame with 12 tackles in the 24-17 win over USC. PHOTO BY BILL PANZICA

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