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    FIGHTING IRISH
    FIGHTING IRISH

    FIGHTING IRISH

    Nov. 22, 2008

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    NOTRE DAME PLAYERS QUOTES

    Toryan Smith – Jr. – Linebacker

    On today’s game …
    We just have to finish these games. We’re letting people hang around. My hats off to Syracuse. They brought it. Basically, we just have to finish these games.

    On the Irish’s inability to finish games …
    I’d like to say that it’s our youth, but at the end of the day, we just have to finish. I wish I had the answer. It’s tough to go out there and lay it on them for three quarters and then not finish.

    On losing to a 2-8 team on senior day …

    Each loss is tough any way it goes. This one was tough, because it’s senior night and we wanted to get the seniors’ a win on their last night and we fell short.

    Pat Kuntz – Sr. – Nose Tackle

    On playing his hardest today …
    I play my hardest every game, so it really feels no different for me other than it’s my last.

    On the tough loss …
    It’s tough, because we had the game under wraps and we didn’t capitalize and put them away. They took advantage of more plays than we did at the end.

    David Bruton – Sr. – Safety

    On today’s game …
    I didn’t play as well as I should have. We left plays out there on offense, defense and special teams.

    On moving on after the tough loss …
    We’ve still got one game left in the regular season. We’ve got to be prepared for USC and the firepower they have.

    Golden Tate – So. – Wide Receiver
    On where the team is at mentally…
    Right now, we’re kind of down but we have to get over it and just come in on Monday and be ready to work.  Obviously, we wanted it for the seniors more than anything.  That’s one thing that coach has stressed all year.  If you don’t win for yourself or for the team, then win for the seniors.  It hurts that their last game in this stadium was a loss.

    On getting over a tough loss…
    We have to have short-term memory and come in ready for USC.  We can’t mope around and go into depression.  We have to go in Monday ready to work, and we have to work harder this week.

    On the mood of the team on the last drive…
    We still thought we had a chance.  You know we still have some playmakers on offense.  We have Duval (Kumara), Kyle (Rudolph) and (David) Grimes so we still thought we had a chance.

    On the difference between Charlie Weis and Mike Heywood calling plays…

    I haven’t really thought about the difference in the play calling.  They’re both offensive geniuses as far as I know.  They both call terrific plays and I just need to execute my plays a little better.

    Mike Anello – Sr. – Cornerback
    On the forced fumble…
    I just made it down the field and saw the guy and I didn’t know why he wasn’t fair catching the ball.  Since he didn’t, I just tried to wrap him up and I got my arm in there and was able to poke it out and John Ryan fell on it for us.

    On the blocked punt...
    I came around the edge and I actually ended up hitting his leg more than the ball but I think that kind of prevented him from getting a good follow through and helped him shank the ball.

    On the atmosphere in the locker room…

    It was tough.  We all went out and saw our families after the game and all the seniors were down on the field too, so I saw a lot of them.  Even the guys in the stands they feel it just as much as we do and it’s really hard to take.

    Maurice Crum – Sr. – Linebacker
    On the tough loss...
    Every loss hurts.  This one has something added to it because of the situation.

    On the last two drives from Syracuse…
    I couldn’t really see what was going on in the back end.  Maybe some guys were missing the line but I don’t know what the problem was.  The bottom line is that they made the plays that allowed them to be successful.

    On the team’s performance since the bye…
    We just have to be more consistent.  Throughout the game there are flashes where we are clicking on all cylinders but then there are times when other sides of the ball are down or up.  We just have to be more consistent.

    Sam Young – Jr. – Offensive Tackle
    On talking with teammates after the game…
    I know I went up and apologized to a couple of guys. It was a tough game. It’s tough when you know you have a chance to win but can’t finish through on that.
    The big thing was letting everyone know that we have two games left. We have a really big one coming up this week, and everyone has to get their minds right and get back to work.

    On moving forward following the loss…

    We just have to learn from our mistakes in this game and then just put them in the past. It’s difficult, but you have to move forward. We have a big-time rivalry coming up with USC and we need to be ready.

    On the team’s difficulty closing out games
    It’s painful but we keep learning lessons. It just keeps reinforcing to this team how important it is to finish teams off. Sooner or later we are going to learn, and whoever we take it out on, I feel bad for them.

    On coming out with intensity for the USC game…
    No matter who we would be playing, I think we would be able to get up for the game. It just gives that much more incentive in that we are playing USC.

    David Grimes – Sr. – Wide Receiver

    On the team’s failure to close the game out
    It’s frustrating. We had our chances to make plays and we didn’t. Not to take anything away from Syracuse, but we had our chances to put this game away.

    On the team’s opportunities in the next two games…
    We definitely have two more opportunities. We don’t want to leave our home field feeling like this, but we can still salvage something. It’s my duty as one of the leaders of this team to get this team back up and ready for next week.

    On gathering with the seniors following the game…
    We went around the locker room and showed our appreciation for all of the seniors. We showed them our love.


    Syracuse Player Quotes

    #97 Arthur Jones – Jr. -- DT
    On his play in the game …
    “I had a blast. It was the best game I played I think, I had a lot of fun. I give credit to the coaching, it wasn’t just me, it was all the guys around me who were keys. That one sack I had, both running backs were covered so I was able to make the play.”

    On playing at Notre Dame…
    “I had a great time … I was just laughing, I told them [Notre Dame] to block me, you know what I mean? I made it in my personal interest to go out there and give it my all. It [the end of the game] felt great, I remember being here in 2005 with coach Robinson and he promised us then we were going to get after them [Notre Dame] and it was really emotional, and I remember him saying that as a freshman, its amazing.”

    On holding Notre Dame to field goals after giving the Irish good field position… “That was key, holding them to field goals, not touchdowns; touchdowns win games not field goals. Touchdowns are key and we came through, it’s a great day for Syracuse. I never gave up and we were still in it [when they kicked field goals]. Defensively we were beating their front up pretty bad and on defense we just said, ‘Hey we have to do it, let’s get it done.’”

    #75 Ryan Durand – Sr. – OG
    On playing after Coach Robinson was fired… “It never really crossed our minds when we were preparing for Notre Dame. We looked at this game as our bowl game for our seniors, and for our younger guys this is just a really special place to play, and we accomplished our goal.”

    On the impact of the win against Notre Dame… “It puts a good taste in your mouth for the entire season. We had a lot of disappointments over the season.  We had a lot of ups and we had a lot of downs. It really makes us feel good about the entire season. It’s a moment I will remember for the rest of my life.”

    On wanting to win for Coach Robinson…
    “We did it for the whole team, coaches included.  That includes Coach Robinson, he is our head coach until next week.  We always go out and play for ourselves, we play for the coaches, we play for the team, and it doesn’t change at all.”

    On the game winning touchdown drive…
    “We were going to win the game.  That’s what we kept saying to each other [in the huddle].  We put that ball in the end zone and we won.”

    #29 Antwon Bailey – Fr. – RB
    On his attitude coming into this game…
    “I felt different about this game, honestly. All the players will tell you, we were talking at the beginning and I told them, ‘I feel something.’  I don’t know, maybe it was the atmosphere.”

    On the final drive…
    “For me it felt like a dream. I was looking up at that clock at the beginning of that drive, and there was five minutes left. It was crazy. Everyone in that huddle was just confident.  Honestly, I didn’t even see him catch the touchdown because I was blocking, so I see all my teammates running to the touchdown and I started jumping up and down because I knew we scored.”

    On being a freshman and running for 100 yards at Notre Dame Stadium… “Everyone has dreams, but coming into camp I was about fourth or fifth on the depth chart.  I pretty much had to work my way out of a redshirt. I definitely did not expect this, and I was in no case doubting my ability, but just the situation that I was in.”

    #60 Jim McKenzie- So. - C
    On the emotions at the end of the game…
    “It was really one of the best wins that I’ve ever experienced. And this is a great thing because our record does not show the way we play and I’m glad we could show on a national stage the way we play. This is a great Notre Dame team, too, and at their house, it’s a real tough challenge so I just take pride in my teammates and the way we did.”

    On when there was a change in the Syracuse team in the 4th quarter… “We just started running the ball more efficiently. What happened was about halfway through that fourth quarter when Antwon Bailey had that great run we knew that we could take them on the run. We just had to get that ball back and the defense did a great job getting the ball back to us.”

    On Coach Robinson…
    “Greg Robinson has been through a lot with Syracuse, but we know that he’s been working hard and things haven’t gone the way we needed them to for him and we just wanted to play for him and show the nation that we can play. And I wish the best for him wherever he goes and we have one more game with him and we’re going to try to go out on top.”

    On what Coach said to them during and after the game… “He said that we have to dare to be special, that we had to be special in order to win this game.  And we played that way and it was something that really came through for us.”

    #4 Cameron Dantley – Sr. - QB
    On what he was thinking when they were down by 13 in the second half… “What was going through my head was confidence. We already had confidence on our offensive side, our defense was already doing their job, so we weren’t worried about that. We were just worried about getting the ball back and being able to make plays. It just so happened that we kept going and moving the ball and we were confident in what we were doing all game. It was just a matter of us getting plays to get back and score a drive.”

    On what it was is like to play at his dad’s alma mater… “It was definitely great. I’m sure I’m going to get calls from him.  We’re playing in Notre Dame stadium first of all, just with all the legacy and history that’s going on here, and on top of that to play somewhere my dad had such a great career and everyone likes him a lot here, so to be out on this type of stage on national television was just a dream come true for me.  And it just so happened that he played for Notre Dame, too, so that makes it all the better.”

    On Coach Robinson…
    “We were rallying around him all the time. We always had confidence in coach and he always had confidence in us so we just felt like we should do this for not only our football team but for him as well. To send him off on a positive note would be great for him and great for our football team. So just to see him keep on working like he always works us here, and we were able to come out with a victory in the end, which is great for us.”

    On what he was thinking when he threw the winning pass… “It was about me putting it on the money, and we just did everything to perfection here, and we had great time back there, and it was just about me putting it on him. It was a great play, and it was just a matter that we had enough time and time did stand still just to make sure that he did catch the ball but he caught it in the endzone and made that drive which was great for us.”


     

     

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