For the second time this season, No. 14 Notre Dame pulled out a gritty, fourth quarter come-from-behind 32-29 win. This time, the Irish staved off a fierce effort by Virginia Tech inside Lane Stadium.
Here’s what the Irish players had to say after the game.
RB Kyren Williams
On what the comeback revealed about the quarterback room:
“I feel like that’s just how we all are, that’s who we are as people. We’re always ready when our time is called no matter what. We’re always proud of our brothers that are in there, and we just know Jack [Coan] is always, like we say, for the brotherhood. Tyler Buchner got hurt, Jack was the first person out there so we all do this for each other, that’s a common feeling, common relationship with everybody on this team so we just gotta keep moving forward, playing ball like we do.
On whether or not the offensive line took a step forward:
“Big step, big step. I feel like we’re taking steps each and every game. That gel that we’ve always been talking about is there, we were popping, I think we probably averaged five yards a carry. We found runs that were productive and we stuck to them so shout out to the coaches and the O-linemen for just doing what we do best and giving us as a running back a chance.”
The Irish rushed for 173 yards against the Hokies, the most for the season.
On the two-point conversion to tie the game up late in the fourth:
“We originally had a two-point play planned but I guess they didn’t run it, probably because I wasn’t in there but we definitely had something set up. When I saw it, I was like ‘Oh that’s not what we had dialed up this whole week for a two-point play’, but we got playmakers all around the offense and all on this team and you see what happens: throw the ball up, Kevin [Austin Jr] comes down with it. It was like he flew in the air and caught that ball.”
On Williams’ 10-yard touchdown run in the 3rd quarter:
“Really it was RPO. I wasn’t even supposed to get the ball, it was just supposed to be a fake to me, but I told Buchner pre-snap I said ‘Give me that ball’. I saw there was one linebacker in the box to the side I was running to, I told Buchner ‘Give me the ball, do not pull it, do not throw it, let me get this’ and just made it happen, got in the end zone.”
On the performance of freshman running back Logan Diggs, who ran the ball six times for 29 yards and also caught a 15-yard pass, all in the fourth quarter.
“He showed up big time. We expected that from Logan tonight, we always knew that he had it in him, and he came out tonight and proved himself when he needed to prove himself. On the last drive, when the crowd was going crazy, two-minute drive you could see how even-keel he was. He caught the angle route and he just proved himself. I’m proud of Logan, we all knew it but he has a bright future.”
On the toughness of both teams:
“Being able to display our physicality on our opponent each and every down is going to wear and tear on them, they’re going to fold eventually and we know that. We’re still getting there, we’re still doing that. I know like you said the jawing, that’s what I like to do, I like to talk, that’s what gets me going. Whenever I’m in that locked in zone I know my boys are feeling that, they’re vibing off of that, and it’s just all-around football when we’re playing like that, when we have an edge to ourselves. Can’t be stopped.”
LB Drew White
On the defense’s overall performance:
“I thought we prepared really well, I think we had a good idea of what kind of game plan they were going to come in with. At some point, guys are going to make plays, their offensive players made some plays. I thought Burmeister was great, the way he was able to use his feet, but I thought the defense played really good and the best part about it was the the offense and defense kind of balancing off of each other, it was great and it really tells the story of what kind of guys that we have.”
On quarterback Jack Coan:
“Jack is a stone-cold killer. He’s got that look in his eyes, a lot of confidence in him. It says a lot when he goes in at the end of the game there, he’s got that look to him and there’s some guys that just don’t have it and he’s got the ability to be clutch and lead game-winning drives. Super proud of him.”
On the scene at the end of the game:
“It was definitely a roller-coaster, not as much as fans and the media might think because you’re so laser-focused and locked in on the game plan and what they’re going to do, a lot of times you’re not really focusing on what the offense is doing. But, it was hard to look away there at the end when they were driving down, it was special, it was awesome.”
On freshman quarterback Tyler Buchner:
“He’s really good with his legs, I think he’s deceptively fast and he’s able to make plays with his feet. I just remember in practice going against him I was trying to hunt him down on the perimeter and he threw a stiff arm at me in practice, he’s wearing a red jersey so I took it not too great, but I’ve seen it work on the field so I know it was useful, so that was fun.”
On what it was like to have fellow fifth-year and team captain nose guard Kurt Hinish back:
“Amazing. Kurt is one of my best friends on the team, we’ve roomed together for like three years, maybe four years now. Just to know that he’s in front of me taking on double teams and he’s not moving, so you were able to see him making TFLs and disrupting the running game so it was great.
It feels better when one of your best friends is lining up right in front of you, just personally. All of our defensive tackles and nose guards are capable, but having a veteran guy in there, a captain on our team to just have that look in his eye and communicate with the rest of the D-line is very useful.”
On the physicality shown in the game:
“I want to think we’re playing with an edge every game. They were doing a lot of 12-personnel so the odds are it was going to be a more physical than a team that’s spreading us out but we have the mindset to come in and be physical every game.”
On where the Irish go from here:
“We have a lot of things to work on, but you can’t sell yourself short for what you can accomplish. It’s a W on the schedule and that’s a lot better than an L. It’s easier to take lessons from, coming in and being positive and bringing that extra juice, we have to keep improving during the season.”
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