Oct. 20, 2001

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Notre Dame Coach Bob Davie

On game:
“It’s Notre Dame and USC. I thought it was a heck of a game today. They’re a good team. I thought we made it a little more difficult on ourselves than we had to at times. Overall though, I thought our effort and our tenacity were outstanding, staying in the game when you’re down 10 and your quarterback looks like he’s hurt. I am really proud of the way our guys came back to win this one.”

On quarterback Carlyle Holiday:
“I thought Carlyle Holiday did a lot of great things. I think he showed he can pass and he can certainly run. But he put the ball on the ground three times and that really hurt us. He’s young… he’s only going to get better. I continue to be impressed with his play.”

“The turnovers were disappointing. We’ve talked about him protecting the football better when he runs, making smart decisions…. running out of bounds maybe instead of trying to run someone over. Other than the turnovers, I thought he played really well.”

On Defense:
“On that first touchdown, we had the quarterback sacked, then he throws it and it looks like an intercerption, then all the sudden I think it was their fullback taking the ball down the sideline for a touchdown.”

“I thought the defense played better as the game went on. I thought our corners did a great job. Their wide recievers were doing some great things in warm ups, and I think we did a good job shutting them down today… Shane (Walton) came up big on the fake punt. I really didn’t expect that play.”

On Special Teams:
“Once again this week, our kicking game was huge, our special teams also played outstanding today.”

On Notre Dame team:
“This is a big win for this football team. I think they were extended emotionally and physically. We’re glad to be through midterms. We’ve got a big week next week with no school and going out to Boston College. Then it’s Tennessee at home.”

“I think if we can eliminate the turnovers, stop doing some silly things on defense, I think we have a chance to be a very good football team.”

Notre Dame Player Quotes

Sophomore quarterback Carlyle Holiday
On his increased confidence . . .
“I think I’ve gotten better over the last couple of weeks. I’ve gotten more confident and I have more confidence in my receivers. The coaches have had more confidence in me as well, letting me throw downfield a little more.”

On winning despite his fumbles . . .
“It shows I am a strong person that I am able to bounce back from those mistakes. But those cannot happen in a normal game if we are going to win.”

On the magnitude of the victory . . .
“We knew this was a big opportunity for us. More than just the rivalry aspect, it was a big chance to gain some momentum that we feel can carry us for the rest of the season. Beating USC makes it a big win for us, as well as the fact that we evened our record.”

Senior linebacker Rocky Boiman
On beating USC . . .
“There really is (something special about it). I can’t really describe it. People have been asking me all week, ‘Doesn’t the rivalry not have as much meaning?’ But it meant a lot to us. I don’t know if it did to them, but it did to us.”

On the offensive play . . .
“The offense played so well today. Carlyle and the offensive line were great. USC knew we were going to come out and run against them, but we were still able to put it to them.”

Senior defensive end Ryan Roberts
On Notre Dame’s goal-line stand . . .
“The goal-line stand was great. I was so happy to be a part of it. They got down to the goal line and we just played our hearts out. We were looking for a goal-line stand because that is a great opportunity (to swing momentum). We were just glad we got to do it.”

Sophomore cornerback Vontez Duff
On his interception . . .
“I want to make a big play every play. That is one thing the coaches teach us — always be a playmaker, no matter what.”

Senior defensive end Anthony Weaver
On the defensive play . . .
“Defensively we played really well today. Honestly, every time they scored, it was basically on us — we did it to ourselves. We’re confident right now defensively and I can’t wait until next week.”

Senior split end Javin Hunter
On Carlyle Holiday . . .
“I thought Carlyle did a great job scrambling and finding the open guy. He has grown 100 percent since the first game he started. He’s more vocal and he’s much more confident. He’s there to make a play. I really like Carlyle in the huddle.”

USC Coach Pete Carroll

On the game
“This is a very difficult loss because of how much was on the line and how much this game meant to the players and the school. No question that this was a difficult loss. Notre Dame played real well in the second half while we got quiet on offense. Some of our problem was simply the poor field position that we had. We were not able to make any critical stops throughout the game. We did not take advantage of the times we had a chance to stop them from continuing to move the ball, including after the fake punt attempt. I don’t want anybody, though, to say that this team was not prepared. Notre Dame played a great game and our hats go off to them.”

On why USC kicked field goal at 9:30 of the 3rd quarter
“It would not have been significant if we stopped them and executed better later on in the half. Looking back, it was the critical point in the game, but it still was the correct decision at the time for us. We certainly did not feel that that would be our last time down there or that that would be the last time we would score. At the time, with the way the game was going, we felt that we need to make sure we put points on the board.”

On Carlyle Holiday
“He is a very good player. He did a nice job for them today and ran the option successfully. He certainly ran that offense well for them and made plays when he had the opportunity to make them.”

On the state of the USC football team
“I know we are building a championship team here. There is no doubt that this team is on its way. The way we are improving and the way that these players have responded leaves no doubt in my mind that we are becoming a championship team. That is why that we played so hard today and this is such a hard loss.”

USC Player Quotes

Junior quarterback Carson Palmer:

On USC close calls and narrow defeats in 2001…
“Every game we play comes down to the wire. We just haven’t been able to pull one out. Every loss has been like this. It’s been so close, and at the end we just can’t find a way to pull one out and get the win. There’s too much heart on this team for it to spiral in any other way but up.”

On second-quarter touchdown pass to FL Keary Colbert…
“We came out and lined up quick, we did a good job of getting set. They were still looking for the call from the sideline. We just caught them when they weren’t ready.”

Senior punter Mike MacGillivray:

On failed third quarter fourth-down conversion attempt …
“I thought I could get the first down so I went for it. The corner came up and made a real good play. I saw the field wide open, I knew it was fourth-and-four, and I thought I could get the four yards. I wanted to try to do something to get the team going and I thought I had it. It’s a decision to make at that moment to go with it or kick it, so I decided to go with it. It looked wide open to me, but unfortunately the corner came up and made a play and it didn’t work out.”

Junior split end Kareem Kelly:

On receiving double coverage…
“I had a few opportunities and I had to take advantage of each and every one because I knew I wouldn’t get many since I was being double teamed. Some balls that I could have had went off my fingertips. I just didn’t make enough big plays today.”

Junior strong safety Troy Polamalu:

On Notre Dame QB Carlyle Holiday…
“He is very mobile. They should probably put him at tailback. He’s a great runner and hard to bring down.”