Photo by Rick Kimball/ISD
Notre Dame Football

Book Excited For Return To The Coliseum

November 22, 2018
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Notre Dame quarterback Ian Book made a miraculous return to the field last week after suffering an injury against Northwestern and played a significant part in the Irish dominating Syracuse 36-3. 

The junior admitted he was a little rusty earlier in the week, but things came together in time for the game. 

“I was a little rusty on the first day back and got back into it, especially for the game,” stated Book. “I felt good and felt comfortable.” 

The Irish will head to California on Thursday evening for Saturday’s showdown with USC with a perfect season on the line, which is the exact opposite of the situation Notre Dame was in 24 months ago. 

“It’s crazy to think about sometimes,” Book said of the 2016 trip to USC. “ We’re definitely in a really good spot this year and fortunate to be this spot. 

“I remember that game and getting to travel to see a lot of people. I remember walking out of the Coliseum, and I’m excited to get back.” 

Book did play in last year’s 49-14 win over USC but this year will be different. The Notre Dame signal caller won’t be coming into the game late in the fourth quarter, and it will be his job to put the Trojans away. 

“It’s going to be awesome,” said Book. “The history around both teams and the rivalry we have, it doesn’t get better than this in week 12. I’m excited to go back to my home state and play against a team I grew up watching. It’s kind of surreal.” 

The California native has thrown for 2,116 yards, 17 touchdowns and just five interceptions on the year while completing 72.6% of his passes, which is second in the nation. 

Book’s ability to run the offense at a championship level starts with rapport he’s built with his receivers. 

“It takes reps,” explained Book. “Chemistry is starting to develop between the receivers and myself. It’s something we have to work on. I don’t know if there was a specific moment but coming to practice every day and working hard is paying off for us.” 

Notre Dame also debuted another piece to the offense last week against Syracuse as Brandon Wimbush made his first appearance in a running back role. It’s a package Notre Dame has worked on for several weeks, but it was a special moment for Book to have his fellow quarterback on the field at the same time. 

“It was cool,” Book said. “He deserves that. He’s a playmaker, and we want to get him the football. It was cool to be out there at the same time.” 

As for this trip to USC, Book wants to leave the Coliseum with a better feeling than in 2016, and it starts by making sure the Irish don’t overlook the Trojans.

“USC plays us hard every year,” said Book. “When you’re at Notre Dame, there is a target on your back in general and especially with how we’ve been doing this year. It’s the last game of the season, and they will play hard. We know they have a good defense. 

“We have to play our best. It’s nothing you can let up on at all.” 

 
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