Sept. 12, 2015
Virginia vs. Notre Dame
Sept. 12, 2015
Notre Dame Head Coach Brian Kelly Quotes
On the game:
"Well our kids are excited, certainly, about winning the football game and finding a way down late in the game. Then coming back on the last drive, making a play with our backup quarterback DeShone Kizer playing his first college football just says a lot about the resolve of the group we have out there. It is just a good group of guys that continued to play. They never let down. They never got to that point where they didn't believe they could win. I'm proud of them."
On Malik Zaire's injury:
"Certainly DeShone Kizer doesn't have the experience that Malik (Zaire) has, but we can run our offense through DeShone. He has a lot of weapons around him and we saw that tonight. He has a running back and receivers. We just have to balance the offense and do the things that he is capable of doing. Teams have to overcome injuries. It is unfortunate, but it is what it is and we will find a way to put it together so we can win games with DeShone Kizer as our starting quarterback."
On the 4th and 2 play call from the last drive:
"It was actually a read pass-run, so if he had zone coverage we were going to throw a little quick game to pick up the first down. If he had man and the numbers were favorable we wanted to pick up the first down. We only needed three yards, so it was really just about converting in that situation. I took the timeout there and we gave him a run-pass option play. He is a big enough kid and even if the numbers weren't great we felt he could get us the two yards."
On the game-winning touchdown pass to Will Fuller:
"We had a double move out there. As you know, we ran a quick slant on third down previously that the corner came up and defended quite well, so we ran a double move off of that. DeShone Kizer waited for that, stepped up, and connected with (Will) Fuller."
On Notre Dame's 0-of-10 third-down conversion rate today:
"We were largely ineffective in our short yardage run game. There are a number of reasons for it. There were some miscues. Some credit goes to Virginia. I thought they did a good job of defending us on third and short, but it is unacceptable to be that ineffective on third downs."
Notre Dame Player Quotes
Senior Running Back C.J. Prosise
On getting through the physical part of having a lot of carries per game:
"I've just got to keep getting treatment and stay in the training room. I have to keep my body fresh and let it heal. I know I'm going to be sore tomorrow, but I know my body will be back and ok when we start practice again Tuesday."
On lack of experience in position:
"At this point, I feel like I can do anything in the position. I have been very comfortable in it now. At first it was hard moving into something new, but now I think I've got what I need to succeed in the position."
On playing in his home state:
"It feels amazing. I played a great game in front of my family and friends to get the win."
Junior Wide Receiver Will Fuller
On game-winning play:
"It's a crazy feeling. Time just freezes when the ball is in the air, it's crazy."
On getting deep enough for the play:
"I have no idea. Hopefully they keep playing me this way and I'm going to keep taking advantage of it."
Freshman Quarterback DeShone Kizer
On new role as starting QB:
"I've been ready for a while. I have no doubt in my ability to be the quarterback for Notre Dame."
On fourth down option play at end of the game:
"I knew it was going to be tough. Those guys came out to play today. I knew it was going to be a tight hole. It wasn't necessarily the longest run in the world. I knew if I just fell over I could hopefully get to the mark."
On getting called in during the game:
"Not much went through my mind, it was kind of funny. I go to bed the night before a game preparing for that to happen and I just kind of blanked. It was time to play football and that's the only way I can look at it. I wasn't going to be the guy to come in and lose a game for the Irish. I prepare way too much for me not to give my all during a game."
On what teammates said when time came to play:
"Jaylon's (Smith's) words really stuck with me. He said he trusted me. Jaylon doesn't say too much. He came up to me and said he trusted me and that we have to go win a game. We didn't get the stop we needed and it was time for me to take over. With that in mind, there was no stopping the Irish. The coaches and I talked earlier about the 2012 team and how they went about their season. They talked about never losing, so we just had to go out there on that last drive and not lose in that situation."
Virginia Head Coach Mike London Quotes
"What a tough way to lose a football game. I'm proud of this team and the effort that was displayed. That's a gutsy group of guys in there that went toe-to-toe for a while and had a chance to win one of the biggest games in a long time. It got away from us. We've played two really good football teams. The goal was to get better going from the first game to the second game and I believe we did that. We've got a long way to go to continue to get better overall. We'll take care of ourselves and move on to the next opponent."
On what he saw on Notre Dame's game-winning touchdown:
"We didn't have the proper rush lane. For whatever reason, probably miscommunication, the receiver got behind us. He made a great catch and it was a great play for them."
On defending Notre Dame on the final drive:
"We had taken into account the timeouts that were left, where the ball was on the field, and the different style of quarterback. Malik Zaire left and [DeShone Kizer] is a guy we hadn't seen much. He threw the ball and distributed the ball as opposed to Zaire where they had some runs for him. We wanted to get pressure and keep the ball in front of us, but the last play there was a devastating one for us."
On the success of the defense on third downs:
"We did a great job on third downs and [Notre Dame] went 0-10. They are a system offense. They lined up in unusual formations and when one guy didn't get in his gap, they had several explosive runs. Those runs put them in position to capitalize on the next play. We weren't really able to stop those first and second down runs."
On scoring in the red zone:
"We wanted to improve in the red zone. Scoring touchdowns has been the big issue for us. That was something we were able to accomplish today. It's the type of improvement you want to have week to week, regardless of the opponent you face. It's more about us than about anybody else we play. We'll start again tomorrow and give ourselves an opportunity to win a game at home."
On Canaan Severin:
"He's our captain and one of our better players. He's a guy that's done it consistently. When a catch was needed, he was the guy in the vicinity who made it happen. He's a great young man and I'd vote for him for anything as far as football is concerned. He's our guy and is just as dejected and hurt as everyone else. We've got to move on and get ready for William & Mary."
On the fake field goal run by Notre Dame:
"Our defense was put in the position to block the kick. We didn't execute on the backside of that play. That was disappointing. Guys up front have to be alert. We've practiced that."
On Matt Johns:
"I thought Matt did a nice job and he continues to get better. There was some leadership he exhibited. He's got some guts, especially on that touchdown run. He's an emotional leader for our team. He'll have to continue to play well for this team to do well."
Virginia Sophomore Linebacker Micah Kiser
On bouncing back after the loss:
"I don't think it will be that difficult. We don't have any wins right now, so the next game is important. William and Mary is up next."
On the team's reaction to the loss:
"It happens. We had them right where we wanted them, but we just didn't finish and we have to move on."
On the defensive game plan:
"We just attacked what they do and we were ready for what they were doing. I feel like we attacked their protection pretty well and got after their quarterback a bit. We will get better. On that last drive I was so close to having him but I just missed. We were in a position to win the game and we just didn't execute at the end."
Virginia Senior Guard Ross Burbank
On the game:
"Obviously with a big game like that, playing a big team in our home opener, there are a lot of feelings and a lot of emotions flying around. It's very disappointing not coming away with a win after we put ourselves in a good position. The thing is, a loss is a loss and a win is a win, you have to look ahead to the next week and we need to flip the switch quick."
On Matt Johns:
"It was really nice to see Matt let it go and just play the way he is capable of playing. Matt is a great player and as long as we protect him and give him time he's going to make plays, and we know that. It was great to see him play well."
On flipping the switch:
"That really falls on the leadership of this team, the older players and the veterans need to just get into everyone's heads and make sure everyone understands that that game is done, it is behind us, there is no moral victory, there is no pat on the back for playing well. We just have to go to the next game. I hate the phrase 'moral victory' at this point. There is nothing for us there, it's not what we want, it's not what we play for. We play to win a championship. It's why we play the game and it's why we practice. It is very frustrating but we just need to get back to it and push a little harder."
Virginia Senior Cornerback Demetrious Nicholson
On the game:
"I felt like our defense played with a lot of energy the whole game. You never want to give up big plays and we gave up big plays when we really didn't need to. We had a lot of positive moments but it's the little things and the big plays that were detrimental to our success today."
On the Notre Dame touchdown in which he was beat:
"He just ran a straight route. I didn't expect him to just run straight by me but he is a pretty fast guy. I got on my pedal a little late and he is a great receiver and they threw it to him. It happens sometimes when you play corner."
On being targeted:
"I feel like I definitely get passes thrown my way a bit. Maybe they are targeting me, maybe they aren't. I just need to prepare the game plan that my coaches give me each week. I felt a lot better today (than at UCLA). I got my hands on a couple of passes and felt more in tune. It felt good to be back at Scott Stadium for the first time in a while. I got my butterflies out and now I'm just looking to progress with my team."
Virginia Senior Defensive End Mike Moore
On the Linebackers:
"Today was my first time going to the linebacker position since practice. We just wanted to try it out because we knew that Notre Dame was going to try and run the ball. So, we knew having a bigger body in there could really help us. With Coach [Jon] Tenuta's defense, you never know what you're going to get. Everything changes every week."
On Notre Dame backup quarterback DeShone Kizer:
"We didn't look too much into the backup quarterback. We pretty much looked at whom they had at starting quarterback and who they had starting at everything. But, we knew that we had the same objective, and that was to get to him."
On Notre Dame's quarterback runs:
"Our defense is set up to stop both the run and the pass. We made some plays, but we have to stop both."
On Virginia's defensive success on third down:
"We knew we had to get to the quarterback, stop the run or stop the pass. We knew we had to make plays."
Virginia Junior Quarterback Matt Johns
On Virginia's last drive of the game:
"[Ryan] Santoro was in on that play. He is one of my roommates and best friends. I knew they were going to be in cover-two because of scouting and just had a feel for the game today. The progression was to Taquan Mizzell and then to Canaan [Severin]. I knew they were in cover-two and I knew Santoro was going to be open, so I said 'Ryan, if they're in cover-two you're getting the ball.' The corner sat, Ryan got open and made the play. One play later we're in the end zone. It was an exciting drive, but unfortunately we didn't come out on top."
On his post-game emotions:
"It's hard, but you have to stay positive. I'm just so proud of this team. Our defense had a lot of big stops today and [Notre Dame] just made a play at the end."
On whether or not Virginia's touchdown at the end of the game came too quickly:
"You can't think like that because you're on the one-yard line and have so much momentum going. You don't want to have to stall the clock out, and then kick a field goal and then you're losing. You can't think like that. When you have the momentum you just have to take it."
On Canaan Severin's performance:
"They were battling all day. Devin Butler, KeiVarae Russell, Cole Luke, they were putting everything they could on him. There were a couple times where he wasn't winning his route because they were grabbing him. So, I made a few throws to him to try and get calls. I would throw behind him on purpose, so he could come back and make a play. If you throw out in front it has to be a perfect pass whereas if you take something off it, which I did a few times, Canaan has a chance to adjust. Canaan is such a freak athlete that you know he is going to make some plays."
Virginia Sophomore Safety Quin Blanding
On the last Notre Dame touchdown play:
"It was just a good play."
On the locker room's mentality after loss:
"We just have to bounce back Last week, you saw what happened. This week, we came out and fought. We just have to stay aggressive."
On if the team got better week one to week two:
"Yes sir. That is all we're going to keep doing. Like coach said, that's it for us losing."
On the backup quarterback coming in the game:
"It didn't change [the game plan]. He knows the system and he's going to run their offense."
Junior Running Back Taquan Mizzell
On the Virginia offense:
"Guys were capitalizing and making plays when their number was called. It was great play calling in this game. Just like I said, we were making plays."
On the teams mentality in the locker room:
"Coach London is doing a good job of getting us together and telling us that we're a great football team. Some of us are down, but we just have to bounce back from it because we have to play next week."
On Matt Johns:
"Matt is the same old Matt. He's confident. He's a leader. He never lets us get down even when we're behind. He's a great quarterback and a great leader. This was the best I've seen him. It's only up from here for Matt."
Virginia Senior Wide Receiver Canaan Severin
On Matt Johns:
"Matt does a great job leading the team and the offense. The whole offensive line played great. They competed."
On the offense making plays:
"That just goes to show what we're capable of doing. That's what it showed me. This was the big bad team that we aren't supposed to beat and no one wants to play. But, we went toe-to-toe with them and had them on the ropes."
On finding holes in the Notre Dame defense:
"You know what, I spent a lot of time watching these dudes. A lot of time. I felt like I was ready to make plays against them. I felt like I knew their tendencies. I felt like I was prepared to do it. I just wish we had come out with this W."
On Ryan Santoro:
"I told you he works hard. That's not a coincidence. My dad always tells me—there's not many things in life that are a coincidence. That was methodical and intentional. It was meant to be. If you work hard, good things happen to you."
On change from week one to week two:
"We just need people to step up. We know people are out. Half of the receiving core is out. Some of the running backs are hurt. People just need to step up."