The Notre Dame Fighting Irish are bowl eligible (just have fun with it) after beating the USC Trojans 31-16 in South Bend. It wasn’t a perfect game by any means, but the Irish did show a lot of improvement on both sides of the ball. Above it all, the offense looked like it had a real game plan this week, and not something that was slapped together a couple of times during the game.
It was a genuinely fun night, and a welcome sight coming off of the bye week.
Brian Kelly was pretty pleased with the team’s performance.
“Great victory. It means a lot. It’s a rivalry game, but it’s our rivalry game at Notre Dame. I know there’s a lot of teams that play us and are considered a big rivalry and certainly I understand why. But this is our game and it means a lot. It means a lot to our kids, it means a lot to our university and everybody associated with it. To come out victorious, it feels really good. There was a lot of preparation. They are very difficult to defend, as you know, and we needed to see our offense mature, which I thought tonight was probably that first step where we felt from the start of the game to the end of the game, the offense began to come together in the manner that we wanted to. We played faster. We put Jack Coan in a position where the ball came out quick. We gave him quick, definitive run-pass reads and it really seemed to give us the kind of offensive flow that we’re looking for. I think he was 20-28. Then Kyren Williams ran with just an attitude that was pervasive throughout the entire offense. So, really proud of our football team. Kyren was was somebody to talk about, but from a defensive standpoint, DJ Brown steps in for Kyle Hamilton, who goes down with an injury early, and he does a really fine job for us. He did that last year against UNC as well. I think it’s time to start recognizing a really solid football player for us in what DJ has done for us. I was really impressed with TaRiq Bracy. He played physical for the first time, and I mentioned him to our team. He bullied some receivers out there today in getting off blocks, came up with the big fumble on the sack at the end of the game. He played the way I was hoping he would play when he came in as a freshman. It’s great to see a player playing his best football in his fourth season. So really, really proud of him. This was our best performance of five guys playing together on the offensive line.”
The Irish made Kyren Williams, Bo Bauer, Jack Coan, and TaRiq Bracy available to the media after the game.