Oct. 12, 2002
Notre Dame Head Coach Tyrone Willingham Quotes
On his team
"They are an outstanding group of young men with the eagerness to win. They have worked very hard to be where they are today."
On sophomore defensive end Justin Tuck
"Tuck is a tremendous edge rusher. He has the ability to be explosive. He makes opportunities for the other players on the field. It?s a win-win situation to have someone like him come off our bench.
On junior quarterback Carlyle Holiday
"I thought Carlyle did a good job today. He made smart decisions for us in this game. His absence gave him a chance to see things he might have not noticed while on the field."
On Pittsburgh quarterback Rod Rutherford
"He makes it very difficult to be sacked. He has multiple skills."
On the defenses of the two teams
"I can?t say enough about our defense. Our guys really stepped up today. Both teams had two excellent defenses today."
Notre Dame Player Quotes
Senior P Joey Hildbold:
On his play today
"It is a game of field position so you want to get the ball inside the 20, inside the 10, and set the defense up."
Junior CB Preston Jackson:
On his interception
"The quarterback scrambled so we knew he couldn?t throw that ball deep. I saw the tight end coming out, and I knew the ball had to come to him. The defense we had called was perfect and we just executed it."
Sophomore DE Justin Tuck:
On his sack in the fourth quarter
"No doubt he got me before that and, being a competitor, I knew he got me the play before so I was thinking it was my turn [to get him]. That is all I was thinking on that play. We just wanted to come off that block and give it all we had."
On holding them scoreless in the fourth quarter
"We had already made up our minds that they were not scoring in the fourth quarter. That is one of our goals. We have a goal board that says, "No points in the fourth quarter," and we met that goal today."
Junior LB Mike Goolsby:
On the amount of time the defense spent on the field
"We love being out there, competing and just doing what we do best as a defense, which is trying to create turnovers for the offense."
On the Notre Dame Defensive Line
"They?re just great. They keep guys off me as a linebacker, and they give a lot of pressure. They give enough push to keep guys off the edge. As a defense, we owe a lot to them."
Junior QB Carlyle Holiday:
On Arnaz Battle
"We were just taking what they gave us, and he happened to be in the right situation. You get the ball in his hands and he makes plays. Anytime you have a guy like that you just throw the ball up and let him go get it."
On Pittsburgh defense
"Their defense is solid. They?re a really good team. I think they?ll win the BIG EAST title. That?s probably on of the best defenses we?ll play all season."
Senior FL Arnaz Battle:
On this season
"Things are paying off for me. I?ve had the opportunity to make plays."
On the offense
"It?s not defense that?s stopping us. It?s executing and eliminating mistakes, eliminating penalties."
Pittsburgh Head Coach Walt Harris Quotes
"We had a chance to win the ballgame. Our defense played tremendou. Offensively we moved the ball except for the third and fourth quarters we struggled to move the ball consistently. Notre Dame has been living on turnovers and that was devistating to us this afternoon. We had a chance to win this game, but we could not finish. It was a hard fought college football game and I am proud of the way my team played."
On the final interception by Rod Rutherford ...
"He tried to throw the ball out of bounds, but he was under pressure and did not get enough on it. He said he thought he had enough on it, but in the end he was just a little short."
On the Pittsburgh passing offense ...
"We believe in our passing game we just have top be more consistent and not fade. Had we done that we would have done a lot better than we did today."
On Pittsburgh's run defense ...
"I think they looked tremendous. Allowing this Irish offense only 40 yards the whole game is very impressive. They played consistent all day. Had we not given the ball up deep in our own territory it might have been a different game."
On Notre Dame quarterback Carlyle Holiday ...
"Coming back from an injury like he is I think he did a nice job. He is becoming a different kind of quarterback than they had in they have had in the past. He did a nice job and they did not put to much pressure on him to win."
Pittsburgh Player Quotes
Junior DE Shawntae Spencer:
On his impression of game
"[We made] bad mistakes at the wrong time. That?s all it was. Altogether, we played a good game, but when you get to the fourth quarter, you can?t have the mistakes we made."
On the Notre Dame turnover advantage
"The name of the game is turnovers. We didn?t create enough, and we turned the ball over. Even in the fourth quarter we didn?t make the big plays we needed on defense and that hurt us."
On the difference in the final period
"I don?t know about their adjustments, but it just came down to the fourth quarter and they wanted it just a little bit more."
Senior LB Brian Beinecke:
On his reaction to Pittsburgh?s defensive effort
"It?s positive, but how positive can you be with a loss? [The result] hurts, but we played well. We?re just going to have to build off it."
Junior QB Rod Rutherford:
On fourth quarter interception by Notre Dame CB Preston Jackson
"I was trying to get it out of bounds. [Preston Jackson] caught it and stayed in bounds. You have to get across the line of scrimmage when you are outside the tackle box, and that?s what I tried to do. I guess I didn?t put enough on it to get it out of bounds."
On Notre Dame defensive pressure forcing second half mistakes
"[The Notre Dame defense] played well, but it wasn?t that we couldn?t handle it. It was just bad mistakes on my behalf."
On Pittsburgh?s inability to score a touchdown
"We definitely wanted seven [points] instead of three. We put it out of our minds during the game. We came out and played well, but just hurt ourselves in the end."
On the final result
"We had plenty of opportunities to win the game. We found a way to lose and they found a way to win. We have to take that not as a setback, but as a sign to move forward."
Senior C Chad Reed:
On Notre Dame defensive adjustments in the second half
"[Notre Dame] came out knowing we were going to throw the ball and rightfully so. When a team starts focusing on one thing, you are setting yourself up for trouble. They just started teeing off, as coaches call it. They were just sitting back there in zone. It was just one of those tough predicaments we got ourselves into and couldn?t find a way to pull it out."
On the play of Pittsburgh QB Rod Rutherford
"Rod has done a great job of bouncing back all year. He went out there like a champion on that last drive."
On the fourth quarter interception by Notre Dame CB Preston Jackson
"Call it the luck of the Irish."