Photo by Rick Kimball/ISD
Notre Dame Football

Cotton Bowl | Boykin And Gilman Ignoring The Noise

December 26, 2018
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DALLAS - Notre Dame receiver Miles Boykin and safety Alohi Gilman will be crucial for the Irish on Saturday in the Cotton Bowl against No. 2 Clemson. 

Gilman will have the task of stopping an explosive offense with electric athletes at every position. However, the Hawaii native isn’t overwhelmed and continues to focus on his defensive unit more than Clemson. 

“Clemson is great and we acknowledge that, but at the same time we are focusing on ourselves and what we can control,” stated Gilman. “We have to focus the same and we’re sticking to our process. We have some tweaks here and there.” 

The Irish will need to slow down Clemson’s running game first and foremost, but they also can’t let quarterback Trevor Lawrence get hot. 

Gilman has noticed the true freshman quarterback has broken tendencies and could very well be the best quarterback the Irish have faced this season. 

“They’ve been able to share the ball around a lot,” Lawrence said. “The quarterback is more than capable. We definitely have to be aware of that. He can make throws anywhere on the field.

“Some teams had a tendency to go a certain receiver, but Lawrence spreads the ball and knows where he wants to go. We had to adapt to that and be strong in our execution.” 

Clemson running back Travis Etienne will be the point of emphasis for the Irish defense as he has rushed for 1,463 yards and 21 touchdowns on just 176 carries. 

“I see a lot of explosiveness,” Gilman said of Etienne. “Once he hits the seams, he’s out. We have to be able to make him go east and west.”

It’s become clear over the last few weeks Notre Dame has a chip on its shoulder. Gilman somewhat downplayed it, but he also embraced the underdog role. 

“We aren’t paying attention to that,” stated Gilman. “We like being in this position and we have been all season. People didn’t think we would win certain games all season. We like being the underdog and every game is an opportunity to show the country what we’re all about.” 

Boykin took it a step further as he believed you shouldn’t be playing in this game if you need to dig into the outside noise. 

“If you make it this far and you still need fuel to go play your best, then you don’t belong here,” said Boykin. “I haven’t taken it as fuel. For me, every time I step on the field, I’m going to play as hard as I can. It doesn’t matter who is across from me.” 

The 6-foot-4, 228-pounder also wasn’t buying into the noise of Clemson’s secondary being the weak link of the defense. 

“The narrative has been Clemson’s corners are the weak point in the defense and that’s not true at all,” said Boykin. “When you turn on the film, they are making a lot of plays and covering well. 

“It’s going to be a battle on the outside.” 

 
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