Photo by Rick Kimball/ISD
Notre Dame Football

Notre Dame Players Take Pride in Finding Ways to Win

November 30, 2019

Notre Dame didn't play the cleanest or prettiest game on Saturday, but the Irish left Palo Alto with a win for the first time since 2007.

The Irish offense and defense didn't start clicking until midway through the second quarter as they rebounded from a 17-7 hole to take a 21-17 lead the half. 

"They made some plays and throws on the field on us in the first half," stated defensive end Ade Ogundeji. "We had to adjust during halftime. We made some adjustments and executed the game plan. We saw our mistakes and went out there and played.

"We knew they were going to pass the ball a lot and they were passing it on the perimeter. We had to get to the quarterback and make plays. That's what we did in the second half." 

Pressure on the quarterback was the key for the defense as the Irish gained momentum from the Cardinal. 

"The key was stopping them and getting to the quarterback on third down," linebacker Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah said. "We were looking at getting inside leverage and trying to adjust our leverages to give them different looks." 

Offensively, the first half was ugly at times, but Notre Dame finished the game with 445 total yards led by Cole Kmet's five catches for 77 yards. 

"Whenever we play Stanford it's always like that," Kmet said of the feeling out process. "We wore them down by the end of the game and started to hit stuff as the game went on." 

Notre Dame's offense didn't have a running back over 50 yards rushing, but they did finish with 190 yards on the ground and averaged over five yards a carry. 

Kmet didn't know if the Irish had a true identity following the regular-season finale, but rather the offense can make plays to win when it matters.

"I feel like every game it's different," stated Kmet. "We're just gritty in that sense. Whatever comes up or whatever is working for us, we go with. Something may not be working one day, but it might work the next. We go with the flow in that way.

"We're not perfect all the time, but we get the job done." 

Notre Dame will now wait to see what bowl game they will be playing in and the Irish will be celebrating a third 10-win season in a row on the flight back to South Bend. 

"I came in here after the 4-8 season," said Kmet. "Guys in Ade's class stepped up and showed us the way. It's really shown in the weight room in the offseason and then in the season. 

"It's special. We want to get one more in our bowl game." 

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