Photo by Rick Kimball/ISD
Notre Dame Football

"When we’re at our best, all that matters is us” - Julian Love

September 13, 2018

Notre Dame defense played a school-record 97 plays against Ball State last Saturday, which meant the Irish starters got more work than expected heading into the game. 

All-American cornerback Julian Love played over 90 snaps and he didn’t even realize it was that high until after the game. 

“I might have come off for a few plays and Donte (Vaughn) got a series,” Love said of his snap count. “I played a significant amount. It was a lot more than I normally play.” 

The Illinois native takes pride in his conditioning, so it wasn’t a total shock to hear he felt more than fine physically after the game.

“I felt pretty good because I knew I wanted to be in there,” explained Love. “I didn’t know we played that many plays. When I’m out there, it feels normal no matter how many plays. The staff knew I played a lot of plays, so they made sure I rehabbed the right way and hydrated.” 

Notre Dame escaped with a 24-16 win over Ball State, but it didn’t mean Love was a happy camper following the game. 

“I was frustrated for sure,” stated Love, who had eight tackles and four pass breakups. “We want to be the best. Our mindset as a whole program wasn’t in the right frame. Let’s be honest, we overlooked Ball State and what they could do. They were a solid team and played with great fight. 

“I was frustrated with our approach. We handled adversity when we realized we were in a battle. The defense stepped up and played well.” 

The Ball State game served as a quick reminder things don’t always go as planned on Saturday and preparation during the week is vitally important. 

“I had to calm myself down and realize we won the game,” explained Love. “My family and girlfriend had to help calm me down. We realize what we have to do. We’ve been intentional this week and getting back to our roots. We’re not taking a day for granted.” 

Vanderbilt will come to Notre Dame Stadium looking to upset the eighth-ranked Irish this weekend and Love see’s some similarities between Ball State quarterback Riley Neal and Commodores signal-caller Kyle Shurmur. 

“They are very similar,” Love stated. “They have big frames, smart quarterbacks and big arms. We have to be prepared for it all. Vanderbilt’s quarterback is a competitor. We have to prepare in the best way possible to compete with him.

“They have a solid receiving corps and some experienced guys who can make plays. They have the talent, so we have to be on our P’s and Q’s. When we’re at our best, all that matters is us.” 

As for a positive from the Ball State game, Love saw grit and the team come together to get a tough win. 

“Our offense got stopped on a few drives, but we put our hats on and said ‘If they can’t score, they can’t win,’” said Love. “We strapped in and got after it. That’s all you can do. You have to motivate the offense and motivate ourselves because we weren’t at our best.

“You have to encourage everyone instead of getting after each other. We just encouraged one another and went out and played.” 

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