Sept. 6, 2003

Recap?|? Final Stats?|? Notes?|? Photo Gallery

Notre Dame head coach Tyrone Willingham

On senior linebacker Courtney Watson:
“Unfortunately, events outside of Courtney’s control caused us to bench him for this afternoons contest. That is all I can say at this time.”

On the Game:
“Early in the game we needed something to go our way, but we could not get everything working together at the same time. Our offensive line struggled in the first half of play, but we made some needed adjustments at the half that helped us correct the problem. We made some mistakes that contributed to thirteen points for Washington State. In the second half we eliminated our mistakes that helped us turn the game around. “

On the Notre Dame running back tandem:
“Ryan Grant and Julius Jones are a great one-two punch for our offense. These guys add an extra spark that our offense needs. They had a few good runs in the fist half that were nullified by mistakes. In the second half, they came out like the rest of the team determined to win this afternoon. Each one had great runs when we needed them today and that was a very vital part of our offense.”

On overtime:
“Fortunately, we had practiced this very situation earlier in the week, and the outcome was identical. I was confident in our defense to hold them to at least a field goal, and with a little luck they missed the field goal. Our offense had struggled at times, but these young men know when they need to step up, and they did.”

On senior kicker Nick Setta:
“After missing his first field goal attempt due to a bad snap, Nick did not let that bother him. Nick is a playmaker. I like to refer to him as a kicker in a wide receivers body. I know he won’t like that, but he is guy you know you can count on when the job needs to get done.”

Notre Dame Player Quotes

Senior free safety Glenn Earl

On breaking up the pass at the end of the game…
“I’m just glad we won. I’m glad everyone pulled through. Nick Setta is my hero. He saved me. I’m just glad to get out of here with a win. We fought back from a tough deficit. I’m just happy to sneak out alive right now.”

On the importance of momentum…
“It’s always great to win and not lose but we definitely need to improve on a lot of things especially special teams. It’s good to get that first game out of the way and get that ‘W’ up on the board. Next week is a whole different fight and a whole different ballgame.”

Senior quarterback Carlyle Holiday

On coming out of game…
“No injury. I landed on my leg wrong but just ran it off.”

On the play of offensive line in first vs. second half…
“In think in the first half, some of the younger guys were shocked a little bit since it has been so long since they’ve seen a real game. But in the second half they stepped it up. We adjusted a lot of things and they came out and did an impressive job.”

Ability to run ball in first vs. second half…
“The ability to run the ball in the second half really shows that to have a successful season you have to be able to run the ball. Julius (Jones) came back stronger and showed how he could run the ball. That’s the kind of player he is and he is going to show that a lot this year.”

Freshman defensive back Freddie Parish

On seeing action today…
“Coach [Trent] Walters told me to be ready regardless and when the opportunity presents itself to do the best I could.”

Senior wide receiver Omar Jenkins

On offensive difference in first and second half…
“Basically we knew we had to go out there and play. I don’t want to say it was first-game jitters, but we just knew we had to go out there and play.”

On overtime…
“We have been in that situation before. We’ve practiced it and basically we want the defense to stop them. We just wanted to move the ball so we could score or get into field goal range.”

Washington State Player Quotes

Senior split end Sammy Moore

On difference in the game…
“We won one half of football and they won the other half of football. They didn’t really get us on our heels, they just beat us.”

On fourth-quarter, final minute touchdown reception…
“It was a post route. [Matt Kegel] just threw the ball where it needed to be.”

On quarterback Matt Kegel’s ability to handle pressure…
“[Kegel] was laughing, joking, pumping us up. He was cool, calm, and collected.”

Sophomore tight end Troy Bienemann:

On fourth quarter fumble…
“I caught it, turned around, and [Vontez Duff] put his helmet right on the ball and it popped loose. I didn’t even think I caught it.”

Sophomore linebacker Will Derting:

On second-half fatigue…
“We were getting tired, the humidity gets to you. But we felt alright, we have been training all summer. We were fired-up making plays in the first half, but got tired in the second-half.”

Senior right cornerback Jason David:

On play of defense…
“The defense is going to have to carry this team and the offense will have to pick up the slack. Our defense is going to have to win ball games.”

Senior free safety Erik Coleman:

On reaction to game…
“It is disappointing to come out fighting so hard for so long and not come out with a win.”

On penalties…
“The penalties were huge. They were mental mistakes. We were going hard, we were going full speed trying to make a play. You can’t really blame that on a particular person, you are just trying to make a play trying to get to the ball. We’re going to fly to the ball, that’s how we play our defense.”

Senior quarterback Matt Kegel:

On game…
“We did a great job in the beginning then had a stall out for a couple quarters. We can’t have that and that’s my bad and I need to fix that. They did some switching up on defense but we got to be better. I thought we played one great game.”

Washington State Head Coach Bill Doba Quotes

On the game
“Notre Dame ran the ball extremely well today and our defense was on the field way too long. Earlier in the ball game, our defense made Notre Dame turn over which helped us gain an early lead. We have to get first downs, and we didn’t do that in the second half. Our defense took the ball away, gave us opportunities, but I think we made some really stupid mistakes on the penalties.”

On quarterback Matt Kegel:
“He had a great game today and came out early poised and ready to play. He made some really key plays whenever we needed them. I am proud of the way he performed today.”

On the second half:
“We moved an extra man up to the line to improve our pass rush, but they came back with the run. They made some good adjustments at the half to take away the rush that we had working in the first half. The penalties really killed us in the second half, had we not let them back into the game there would have been a different finish.”

On the overtime:
“I’d prefer to defer if we win the toss and choose defense, unfortunately Notre Dame won the toss and decided to defer, which any good coach would do. I commend Coach Willingham on this decision which ultimately decided the ending to the game.”