Notre Dame 24, Temple 20: Irish's Postgame Quotes Tell All
Photo by Mel Evans/AP Photo

Notre Dame 24, Temple 20: Irish's Postgame Quotes Tell All

Quotes and clips from postgame happenings of the primetime Notre Dame-Temple matchup Saturday night which saw the Irish claim a tight 24-20 win.

Zach Drapkin

PHILADELPHIA, Pa. -- DeShone Kizer and the Notre Dame Fighting Irish picked up a dramatic big win Saturday night on Halloween at Temple for the game of the week in the NCAA football universe, but the first loss of the year for the Owls wasn't the only headline after the game. 

Check out the quotes from lots of Notre Dame players and coaches postgame, as provided by the above author.

Brian Kelly, Head Coach, Notre Dame

"We expected it to be a good game, and that's what we got. We are very proud of how our team played in the fourth quarter, both on offense and defense. At the end, we just made one more play than Temple to give us the victory. Tonight we made a couple of bad plays in the red zone against a really good football team."

On the play of quarterback DeShone Kizer

"He got the game ball for leading the drive on the road as a freshman. Making the throw at the end of the game against a cover two was outstanding. He showed great poise and leadership, he definitely deserved tonight's game ball."

On the big 45-yard catch for Alizé Jones on the go-ahead drive

"They were playing a lot of cover two throughout the game. During this position, Will Fuller ran a smash route while Alizé was the third receiver on the play, he ran a corner route from the number three and slid over in that situation."

On the ejection of Elijah Shumate for targeting

"Referees said it was targeting, which I disagreed on. Targeting to me is when you're obviously trying to take someone out and I just did not see that. I would have to watch it."

On the two redzone interceptions in the second quarter

"The first one was an unacceptable mistake on DeShone's part, and he knows that he can't throw that ball in traffic like that. It will be one of those mistakes he will look back on and never make that mistake again. The second one, he tried to fit a skinny post in there; we felt Will Fuller needed to come back to the ball on that and make a play on that."

On Kizer bouncing back from the interceptions

"He's a resilient kid. He doesn't carry anything with him. He had a long conversation during the game on the sideline about going back to the basics and doing the things that got you here, and he did. He did some good things for us."

On the playmakers making a difference late in games

"There's no question there are individual playmakers on this team. Collectively though there's a demeanor on this football team of that they're not going to give in, they just keep playing, they play hard for four quarters and very similar to the Temple team, a 'no quit' attitude where they just keep playing and this group is very similar. I think that collectively is what you have as well as those individual playmakers."

On how the comeback helps the team looking forward

"The last two games we were down in the fourth quarter. I told our guys we have got to coach our players better and put them in better positions. They just need to keep bringing to practice the desire to get better every single game. And also that special trait that they have, of believing that they will win football games, because obviously, you can't duplicate that."

On Temple's program

"Good coaching and they are now a faster football team than they were three years ago, across the board. It starts with their defense. It starts with the speed and the athleticism that they have on defense."

On Jaylon Smith's performance

"He was all over the field and he's set a bar now in terms of the way he plays. Each and every week, he's just a physical player, all over the place. We're not the kind of defense we are without him."

On defensive lineman Sheldon Day

"He played as well as I think I've seen him play. He was active, he was in coverage if you saw him. We did a lot of things with him. He's right now playing the best football of his career.  Again, when you have your captains playing your best football, that's a good sign for your defense."

On offense running more quarterback runs and screens

"They were overloading to a particular formation so we knew that was probably what we would have open to us in the game. On film they were overloading to formation and runs so we knew that's what we would have available to us."

On breakaway opportunities

"I knew that those were going to probably put us in a position where it was going to be a dogfight in the second half, when we missed those two opportunities. If we just come up with three points each time! If the worst we do is kick the football, we'd probably feel a lot better about our situation. But you can't go down their twice and come up with no points. I thought those things generally come back and you're going to have to overcome them. And we did overcome both of those turnovers. But they're very alarming when you have those."

On defense as a whole on the night

"I thought we did some pretty good things. When we lost Shumate, that hurt us a bit, especially on the fourth down play, we would have loved to have Shu out there on that play, but I thought they played hard. When you look at the defense as a whole, we minimized their big plays other than when we were in a stir one time and Jerry came around and cut a gap. I thought our mistakes were down. I thought we played better defense tonight."

Sheldon Day, Defensive Lineman, Notre Dame

On watching and being surprised about the game-winning reception

"We weren't surprised at all. We always have faith in our team because we know what we can do, so the defense riled together once again and we told each other that it's time to ball up and get ready to end the game."

On Temple's toughness

"Temple's a very tough team. They came out to play tonight, and I'm glad we got the win."

On the postgame vibe in the locker room

"We're definitely excited. We celebrate each win 24 hours. It's definitely always good to get the win."

On the D-line's performance

"We're getting better each week and we want to be the most dominant defensive line in the country. We're trying to work our way toward that."

"I'd have to go look at the film but I definitely feel we played good."

Alizé Jones, Tight End, Notre Dame

On the late 45-yard catch to put Notre Dame in scoring territory

"All week coach was talking about guys stepping up and making big-time plays, regards of who it is, whether it's me, whether it's Will, any other guys on offense. So I'm happy. We go to get the win and that's all that matters. I saw the defensive coverage, I saw that the safeties were over, so I saw where they were going today."

On whether he feels his moment has been coming

"I really haven't been thinking about my moment. I'm just trying to do the best I can to make sure that when my opportunity comes that I do take advantage of it and help the team out, any way, shape, or form."

Will Fuller, Wide Receiver, Notre Dame

On the winning touchdown

"They were crowding me, and DeShone just threw a perfect ball in the hole, a hole shot, and I couldn't really see it because of the lights but I'm happy I came down with it."

On comeback confidence

"Especially in this game because you knew Temple, that they're blowing teams out the water in the second half. We showed a lot of mental toughness in the second half as well and came out victorious."

On the calmness of Kizer

"We know he's going to get his job done. We have a lot of confidence in him. He proved himself again today making that perfect throw. Happy he's on our team."

On coming to his hometown to play

"It was good coming home. Talked about it all week. Great to play in front of my family and friends. I got over one hundred people here. I know they're proud of me and I'm happy the game ended the way it did."

On whether it was the ideal way to cap off his trip

"Great way to cap off the trip, just getting that dub, it was awesome."

On not getting frustrated for being bottled up for majority of game

"Just having confidence in my team. I'm not like an individual player, I know what we came here for, to get the win. It wasn't about me or anything like that. I'm just happy that we got the win, and however it happened it happened."

On the state of Temple football now

"They're doing a great job. You know, they were undefeated before today and they played us great. They have a lot of confidence, and they're a real tough team and I give them all the props."

On KeiVarae Russell

"That's two weeks in a row coming up with big plays. I'm happy he's on our team too and we work all week getting better so we make each other better and I'm not surprised he made that play. He's totally capable of making that play."

On the position of Temple's safety on the game-winner

"I just got past the corner and looked back in the hole, so I never saw the safety. It felt like [it was on me before I got there]. He didn't bat it down, so I guess he wasn't there."

On handling being bogged-down as an offense

"We never lose confidence. We know we have explosive players and it can happen at any second. We just stay confident and just keep winning."

On whether Kizer told him anything before touchdown play

"Not at all. It's just his decision to come that way with the hole shot. Like I said, he threw that perfect pass."

On two early redzone interceptions

"I really don't know what happened. I just ran my route. The one that involved me, the corner played great, good defense. He stayed inside and got his hand on the ball and tipped it up in the air and their guy made a good play on the ball."

On identity of offense

"We have guys all over the field that can make plays. Just not me and C.J. and DeShone, you know there's other guys too. We have plenty of athletes that can make plays and that just shows how versatile we are as an offense."

On Alizé Jones being one of those playmakers

"I think he has the best hands on the team, so you're not going to see him dropping any balls. Freshman coming in, making a play, and keeping our drive alive is big for us today."

On team goals for rest of the season

"Keep winning."

DeShone Kizer, Quarterback, Notre Dame

On big play to Jones

"We came out of the run play and they brought a couple extra hats into the boundary to stop that. Typically, we would check to another run in that situation, but with the game at the time and situation that it was, we had to make a big play. They were crowding us all game, and I had to get the safety respect the ball over the top."

On having Fuller as primary target on winning score

"Like I said, throughout the whole game, I missed quite a few times to throw balls in the cover two hole shot area and this was the perfect time to unleash him. Didn't really expect to be in that situation. They gave us cover two and I knew exactly where to throw the ball."

On overcoming the early two redzone interceptions

"It's completely unacceptable. You try to wash that off at halftime and you come out and try to play your best, try to win the game like we did, but now once we go and re-evaluate it, it's completely unacceptable to be playing at the level that I am right now and throwing picks in this situation."

On mindset during comebacks

"At this point in the season it's just part of the 2015 Irish season. We're going to be in those situations. We learned quite a bit from our experiences in Virginia and the Clemson game to be able to have the confidence to come out and know we're going to score points. That being said, we don't want to be there. If I don't throw those two picks in the first half, we wouldn't have to engineer anything. The situation came up, we came out victorious. It just goes to show the style of offense that we have and the type of confidence that everyone on this team has.

On conducting himself in the huddle

"With the experience that we have out there, there's nothing to be said. Everyone knows their job, everyone knows that they have to go out and execute their assignments, and that's the only way we're going to come out and put up points. So, I don't really say anything different or do anything different, I just try to stay as smooth as I possibly can and be the same person that I am so they will be the same person that they are."

On comeback experience previously and effects on the game

"It all comes with experience. That's the only way to put it. When you go out there and you do it once or twice, that's how it's going to end up being. We know how to go about a fourth-quarter comeback now and we understand that's the style of ball we're going to have to do if we're down in a situation. Once again, we just can't be in those situations."

On Temple's run defense

"They mixed it up on me. They had me a little flustered in the first half, they were doing a couple things that I couldn't really read. They were mixing guys up left-and-right and as much as it messed me up, it messes up our line assignments. We made the adjustments that we were supposed to make in the second half and were able to be a little more successful in the second half running. Temple's a really good defense. When you return twenty juniors and seniors as starters in the team, you can't expect anything less out of them. They're a really good team and that's the reason they stopped us. It's not necessarily a bad game plan or anything, they're just good players. And they played really well tonight. Fortunately we came out and put up the points that we needed to when we needed to."

On coming strongly out of halftime

"When you have the talent that you have around you, it makes things so much easier. When I go into the locker room, and you look at Ronnie Stanley, Nick Martin, Will Fuller, C.J. Prosise, Chris Brown, everyone in there - they're the best at their positions in the country, in my opinion. When you have guys like that around you who don't flinch in that situation no matter how bad you think you've played, it makes it a lot easier to flush those."

On whether Fuller is unstoppable

"He finds a way to make a play no matter what. I just have got to a better job of getting the ball into his hands a little more often. There's been some times in games where I can throw some really tight balls and know that Will's going to come down with it, but instead I'm getting sacked, running for two yards on a third and eight. I need to trust myself in putting the ball in a guy's hands."

On the location of the safety on the game-winner

"We ran so many double verticals in the cover two all game and that safety was playing the number two receiver really strong all game and I knew that if I put the ball in at the right time and kept the ball outside that there was going to be no way for him to make it over there. I probably should have put the ball a little higher, so Will can go up and stay away from the safety, but as fast as he is and as good as he is, it didn't really affect anything."

On the big completion to Alizé Jones

"They were playing some zone coverage, corner bit down on the number one receiver, opened up a little hole. Threw it in there, and Alizé's one of the fastest, most-athletic tight ends in the country and he wants the ball in his hands and he's going to make something big with it."

On whether he felt the Owls personally challenged his rushing ability

"It's never a personal challenge, just because with the tools that we have and the game plans that we put together, they're going to have to choose something. They're either going to have to take away Will Fuller, Chris Brown, take away our passing game and allow C.J. Prosise to go, or they're going to put extra guys in the box and try to make us throw the ball so it's not necessarily a personal challenge in any way, it's just that's how teams are going to play us. We have got to respect that and we have got to learn how to fight through that and be able to overcome it the way we did in the second half and make that a complete game situation rather than just a second-half situation."

On the final play to run out time, on which Kizer bobbled the ball rolling back

"Well everyone after being in the locker room was sitting there talking about Michigan-Michigan State and that situation, and we understood that we had a play that should be able to get us eight seconds for me to roll out and throw the ball as high as I can. I was too relaxed with the situation and knocked it out of my hand, and balls can bounce anywhere they want to bounce, it just happened to bounce right back up to where I needed it to bounce to and got the ball out of bounds in time for the clock to expire."

On goals for remainder of the season

"Go 1-0. Just keep winning. That's the only way that we're going to get to complete the mission that we want to complete and continue to improve and take it day-by-day and step-by-step until we get it to where we want to be."

On whether there is added satisfaction to hit Will Fuller for his game-winner in his hometown

"You don't really feel that when you're out there, you don't really think about that at all, but you come back into the locker room and think about how many fans that he had in the stands and the situation that he's been going through all year, going up and down. It's always good to put the ball in his hands and I'm proud to have him as a teammate and glad that he got to experience that in front of his family.