Sept. 25, 2010

Recap | Final Stats | Notes | Photo Gallery media-icon-photogallery.gifNotre Dame vs. Stanford
September 25, 2010
Player and Coaches Quotes

Player Quotes

Andrew Luck – Jr. – Quarterback

On next weeks game…
“Oregon has it all; great defense, great offense. We’re gearing up for a tough football game.”

On what can be Improved on…
“Finishing in the red zone is something we need to improve on, and getting touchdowns.”

On what is different about this team from last year…
“Towards the end of spring ball guys were playing with more confidence. Guys grew up a lot and got playing experience. They were playing with a tenacity and chip on their shoulder attitude.”

On the 3rd-down conversions…
“Anytime you convert on a 3rd down, all of the kudos goes to the offensive line. Whether its third and short and they’re pounding the ball or third and long and they’re bringing the pressure, I think the credit goes to them.”

On not receiving lots of national hype…
“Honestly, we don’t think about it too much. We understand playing on the west coast is different but we’re fine with that and use it as a little motivation.”

On what happened on his first interception…
“It was underthrown and my second was a bad ball. The linebacker made a good play on it. It was one of those where I kind of knew it when I threw it.”

On what the teams mentality was entering the game…
“Coach (Harbaugh) stresses to come in, whether it’s at home or at away, just fists up and ready to go, ready to swing. We came in like that. Obviously it’s a great tradition, great atmosphere here in South Bend, but we knew to be successful in this game we had to come out early and I think we did a good job.”

On winning the battle up front…
“Notre Dame’s front 7 is very good. I saw Manti Teo had 21 tackles, talk about a great football player. I think our offensive line stepped up to the challenge. I think both teams will take a look at the film and say wow that was a really physical type of game. But I guess we won, so we get the win in that too.”

Shayne Skov – So. – Linebacker

On how did you get hurt…
“No, no, I was fine. I had a little equipment malfunction and no one was subbing in, so I had to go down. I guess I win an Oscar for that one. I’m fine. The chinstraps were broken off and I needed to get off the field but nobody was coming back on.”

On trying to jump the snap and pressure Crist…
“Yeah, They pass the ball a lot to kind of shake the quick tempo of the offense, shake them up. Our defensive line did a great line opening up the lanes for blitzing. That was part of our game plan to attack the offense.”

On containing the Notre Dame pass game…
“We focused a lot on their passing game. I’m not saying they can’t run, but they had some weapons in the passing game that we wanted to stop, so that’s what we focused on.”

Nate Whitaker – 5th year Sr. – Kicker

On how he felt coming into the game…
“I always come in motivated to a game, but I do have a little extra motivation for Notre Dame because of the situation and transferring. Konrad (Reuland) and I both love it out here but we made our decision for a lot of reasons and it was proved in our win tonight.”

On if he feels he has proved something since transferring…
“I like to think I proved a little something to the people out here today. I felt like I missed some opportunities when I was out here at Notre Dame and it was nice to come out here and show people what I am capable of.”

Owen Marecic – Sr. – Fullback

On how he felt Stanford’s defense played today…
“I definitely have to tip my hat to the other guys. The defensive backfield was shutting the big plays down all day and we had a really great rush from the defensive line, as well as getting sacks all day. They made sure the quarterback didn’t feel too comfortable back there.”

On how he feels about playing on both sides of the ball…
“I’m just playing football, that’s why we are all here and doing whatever we can to help the team win. I’m fortunate to even be on the field at all, offense, defense, or special teams. I am very grateful to have the opportunity to help out the team wherever I can. I’ve been an offensive guy for a few years and now actually being on defense for the big plays on the field gives me a little extra juice. I just get in the rhythm of the game and play ball.”

Chase Thomas – Jr. – Linebacker

On Owen Marecic…
“He’ll work out in the morning, and we have 2 lifting groups, and when I come back he’ll just be finishing up. The kid’s an animal.”

On being a physical team…
“New coaching staff have been preaching all along, be relentless and cold-blooded, out-hit the other opponent. I feel like for these first four games we have done that as a defense.”

On the defense…
“Our first (team) defense has only let in one touchdown this year, and that was against Wake Forest. We’re not satisfied at all; too many passing yards this week, but we’ll look at that, look at the film, and get ready for Oregon next week.”

On ND’s touchdowns…
“The defense did what they wanted to do this game, I feel like as a whole defense that’s what we did. We had 44 yards rushing, and they had some passing yards against us, but that was mostly in the last 2 series where the first defense was out.”

Konrad Reuland – Sr. – Tight End

On success in the middle…
“I think the coaches gave us a great game plan, and we just executed it. There were a couple of holes in their defense we were able to exploit.”

On Andrew Luck…
“He is an awesome quarterback, and an even better person. He’s awesome. It’s an honor to line up with him in the huddle, and catch passes from him. It’s all on the money. It makes my job much easier when everything is placed right where it needs to be. He’s a great leader and stepped up a lot this year as a leader as well.”

On beating Notre Dame…
“I’m trying to keep a cool head about it, but it’s definitely a great feeling. I heard about that we are the only Stanford team to beat ND twice in a row in the locker room after the game, It’s a little surprising. It feels great to beat them the two years I was able to play here, to never lose to them. It’s a great feeling.”

An interview with:

COACH Brian Kelly

COACH KELLY: Begin by tipping my hat to Stanford, coach Harbaugh. Well coached football team. They were well prepared. It’s a fine football team. They deserved to win today. As it relates to our kids, you know, as I told them after the game, if you break it down, it’s 19 6, fourth down and foot and a half from midfield and we can’t convert. Then third and eight we have a missed assignment where they pick up a first down. Really, you know, in a hard fought game, those are the key plays that turned the game eventually to where it finished. I think I would point out our defense battled. We had two interceptions. Not making any excuses for our kids, but we played three, four really good football teams, physical teams, and our kids have battled each and every week. We came up short this week. But they’re not going anywhere. They’re going to be back next week and they’re going to strap it back up and they’re going to fight and play as hard as they can. We’re going to build this program to where it needs to be. So I think it’s important to point out that, you know, Stanford deserved today’s win, and that is a fine football team. With that I’ll open it up to any questions.

Q. Not to take anything away from Stanford at all, but did you feel like watching the game there was a hangover effect from Michigan State last week?
COACH KELLY: No. I thought our defense battled very well. Offensively we had a hard time fitting the ball into tight seams. You know, it was a lot of three down, drop eight. Then their drop eight, you’ve got to make some accurate throws. You got to put the ball in a great position. Then we really struggled in some of our run game stuff that we’ve had some success with, quite frankly. You never pin it on one side of the ball or the other. But I think the thing that I take away is that drop eight, three down, drop eight, we got to do a better job of getting the ball into tight windows.

Q. As you move into this week, prepping for the next game, how do you pick up the pieces? Are there pieces to pick up with these guys?
COACH KELLY: I think that’s a great question. That’s the first thing that you ask your football team. There’s going to be a lot of 1 3 football teams across the country. Some are going to finish 1 11, some of going to be 8 or 9 3. It’s what you decide to do from here on out. I know where I’m going and the way I’m going to work every day, as well as our coaches and players. We play a tough schedule. Make no bones about it. Our kids have battled. There’s going to be success down the road for them if they stay with it, and I’m certain that they will.

Q. When you called the timeout at the end, did you make a point with your team, did you want to score, did you talk about anything?
COACH KELLY: We took the timeout just so, again, as we develop our football team, in particular our quarterback, that we’re always going to play right down to the very end of the game. That wasn’t for any other reason. We tried onside kicks. We tried everything to try to keep the game in a competitive situation. But clearly once the last field goal was kicked, we threw a little screen pass to the flat, picked up a big gainer. At that point you’re trying to put another score on the board.

Q. Manti had 21 tackles today. Do you feel like you’re getting to the point where his play may bleed into the rest of your defense?
COACH KELLY: He played with a will today. He had a look on his face, a toughness to him that he hasn’t displayed since he’s been a player here at Notre Dame. Today is one of those watershed moments for a defensive player that we can model.

Q. You talked about the tight windows when they dropped eight. They also were able to get some pressure on you early, sometimes as a runningback, sometimes offensive linemen. Were those missed assignments? Did they do something to confuse you?
COACH KELLY: I could give you each one of them, but we’d be here for a while. They blitzed the will linebacker, our back did not step up to meet him. He got driven back into the quarterback. Another time they fired the same linebacker and we missed a hot throw by the quarterback. Then the other one was a third and long where we were looking for a dig to come open. It was just a three down rush where the time element was probably the sack was more about a coverage sack than it was an individual. Those were really the three that stand out to me.

Q. You talked about your message to the players. Is there going to be a time where the leaders of the team have to take ownership of it, aside from you?
COACH KELLY: They’ve taken ownership. This group, they want to be remembered for something. They want to be remembered for being the team that turns this program in the direction that we all want it to go. They want to be part of that. They’ve already bought into that.

Q. Brian, how difficult is it to go through a week, actually three weeks now, without a reward at the end, get the reward for the kids?
COACH KELLY: Well, you know, we all want to win. They want to win football games. We all want to be judged on successful ventures into playing the game. But they know what they’re doing is making a difference. They’re getting better. They’re getting to the point where they can compete and think that they can win every game they play. They have to take solace in that right now, because I have to. I have to do the same thing. We’re all in this together as players and coaches. Nobody wants to walk away at the end of the day without that gratification. But I think what we get is that we know that we’re making internal, in our own room, behind the walls, we know what we’re doing, and I think that keeps us moving forward.

Q. Small picture. Kyle Rudolph, was he a little gimpy at all?
COACH KELLY: You know, I’ll have to watch the film. I know they paid special attention. He had a hard time sometimes getting a release. I know we were looking for him a couple of times. We just ran out of time. That’s why sometimes the ball got bounced back out to Michael, but it was late. When you’re off rhythm and off timing from our passing game, from not being able to get it inside out, some of it has to do with how they played Kyle coming off the ball.

Q. You mentioned not necessarily knowing what they were going to do on defense based on those first three games. I don’t want to say confusion, but were you trying to figure stuff out as the game was going on?
COACH KELLY: A couple things happened. First of all, they were able not to change personnel from three down to four down. They had shown always their ability to change personnel. We figured that out pretty early on, which was not an issue at all. It really came down to their drop eight, rushing three and dropping eight, really not being able to execute on our end of things from that standpoint.

Q. How do you assess Dayne’s day in the big picture?
COACH KELLY: You know, every day he’s growing. There’s new things he’s confronted with. He’s learning. But it is a process. This is the maturation of a quarterback right before your eyes. We’re going to have some growing pains along the way. But he’s delightful to coach. He’s a kid that wants to get better. So from my perspective, you probably saw a little bit of the growing pains that a lot of our players are going through.

Q. After he threw the interception, went for a touchdown, looked like you pulled him aside. What are you talking to him about?
COACH KELLY: You know, I don’t want to get into the specifics of that. But, you know, those are times that the quarterback and the head coach get an opportunity to talk. Sometimes they’re not things that I want to repeat.

Q. Brian, just talk about the battle on both lines today.
COACH KELLY: I didn’t like the way we ran the football. But again, I thought we competed defensively against a very good rushing team. Again, I would have liked to see us have a little bit more success. We came out with two tight ends to start the game. We wanted to establish a more physical presence. Didn’t get it the way I wanted to. So we’ll go back and look at it, evaluate it, find out where we are.

Q. Special teams overall, where do you feel like you are there?
COACH KELLY: I think our field goal kicker has been outstanding, and our kickoff coverage is outstanding. The rest of those groups lousy. We’re going to have to take a good, hard look at what’s going on there.

Q. Coach, obviously network TV, commercials, injuries. How hard was it to establish a rhythm offensively?
COACH KELLY: You know, I think that’s probably more about what Stanford did than what NBC did. So I would say we just never created our own rhythm, you know, offensively. Stanford had something to do with that.

Q. It seemed like your team was moving at times, but there were breaks, then it would just shut down.
COACH KELLY: Yeah, no, I’m with you. I think I said the right thing (laughter).

Q. Coach, for the first time this year, Johnny Goodman was really involved at the receiver spot. Talk about why he got involved so much today and his play today?
COACH KELLY: Practicing better. Practicing better. Catching the football. Holding on to it. Finishing plays. Got a lot of confidence when he was at Michigan State, catching punts late in the game. Confidence is about doing. I think when he had some success at Michigan State, really gained him some confidence. Had a really good week of practice. It showed in the game today. THE MODERATOR: Thank you.

An interview with:

Dayne Crist

Q. Dayne, how is the team feeling?
Dayne Crist: Obviously right now we’re very upset with where we’re at. It’s about having short memories in this game, having tough, thick skin and a short memory. That’s how we have to handle ourselves. We’ll appreciate the 24 hour rule, but we got to come back ready to work.

Q. What positives do you take out of it?
Dayne Crist: As a player, I mean, you’re obviously upset. You want to win right now. That’s kind of what it comes down to. We just got to do a great job of just critiquing the film, watching the film, figuring out how individually we can get better on offense.

Q. Why was it more difficult for you to find the guys?
Dayne Crist: They were dropping a lot of guys. They had eight guys in coverage a whole bunch. You don’t want to sit and make excuses, but tip your hat to Stanford. They had some good calls out there. We just got to find answers and do a better job in practice finding those answers.

Q. Did you expect that kind of coverage?
Dayne Crist: No. They hadn’t shown it. They hadn’t shown it really at all in the film that we had. Again, you can’t sit back and point your finger at that. You got to go into the game ready for anything. We got to do a better job of adjusting throughout the game and adapting to what they’re throwing at us.

Q. (Question about the two plays that coach said the game turned on.)
Dayne Crist: Those plays are huge. You can’t sit and call two plays are the reason we lost the way we did. Guys got to do a better job of executing and having a better sense of urgency in those situations. Again, I can only speak for the offense. I can’t talk about the defensive side of the ball. They were great. They were the reason we had a chance to win. The offense, we need to do a better job of putting this on our back and start this thing rolling again.

Q. They got some pressure on you early. Did they do a good job of mixing it up?
Dayne Crist: Yeah, they did. Stanford did a great job. Again, we need to do a better job or teams are just going to do that every game.

Q. What were some of the protection problems?
Dayne Crist: We have to look at it on film. Right now we just didn’t do a good job of just adjusting, myself included, adjusting to what they were doing throughout the game. We’ll have to review that on film. I don’t know right now.

Q. As the leader of the team, how do you keep these guys together?
Dayne Crist: Actually, it’s not as hard as it seems because of the guys we have in the locker room. We have guys that want to win, guys that know we can win, and we have a potential to win the rest of the games on our schedule. There’s really that belief in the locker room. It goes all the way through. There’s no guys in question right now of where we’re going. That’s a great feeling. Again, have to step up and be a leader of the offense and get us going in practice more than anything else.

Q. Did they give special attention to Kyle today?
Dayne Crist: Yeah, they did. But, again, it’s one of those situations where you have talented play makers on the field, they’re always going to try to find ways to take him out of the game. They did a good job of that. Again, we’ve got to find answers for that. I’ll take responsibility for that one.

Q. Is it a mental hurdle to get things to click early on?
Dayne Crist: You have to have a greater sense of urgency, even if you just got to grind it out down the field. You have to have a greater sense of urgency on third down, greater sense of urgency protecting the ball, taking what they give you. This team is experienced in that right now, but it’s something that I think will be a great tool for us as we move forward in the future.

Q. What did you think you could do against the Stanford defense?
Dayne Crist: We were able to throw the ball for like 300 yards. We were able to move the ball. We were able to throw the ball. It was just capitalizing in the areas, especially in third down. Got to keep chains moving. For as fast as we go, if you’re getting off the field three and out, not really effective. We have to do a better job of staying on the field and just scoring points.

Q. Talk about John Goodman.
Dayne Crist: He’s practicing better. Showing up in practice. He’s continually working. Just making plays in practice. I mean, that’s the quickest way to get on the field.

Q. Armando Allen, a work in progress?
Dayne Crist: We’ll have to analyze that on film. You can always take some good, some bad. You’re never happy where you’re at whether you’re beating a team by 30 or losing by 30. That’s just the way it goes. We’ll analyze it on film. Just after a game, we have a lot of stuff to worry about and review. I think we’ll be able to take some things from this game, but there are some things that we didn’t do so well.

Q. Coach Kelly talked about how it’s the evolution of the quarterback, we’re seeing the process before our eyes. How is that for you?
Dayne Crist: It’s tough initially. He and I had multiple conversations about that. The biggest thing is just trying to get better each week, not being complacent with a little progress, just going and wanting to progress more and more and more until this is as good as it can be. You’re never going to see a cease on my end of trying to progress, trying to get better. That’s my job as the quarterback at Notre Dame, is to try to get better each week. That’s something I’ll try to continue to do.

Q. Andrew sought you out after the game. What did he say?
Dayne Crist: Just said, Keep your head up, play well, keep in touch. We talked about the game a little bit. I told him he played great, that we’d be in touch.

An interview with:


COACH HARBAUGH: Might be the biggest press conference I’ve ever been to right here. We’re happy for the win. We’ll move forward with humble hearts. Really proud of our team, really proud of our coaches. Thought they did a great job putting together a game plan for this week and our players going out and executing it. I’m as fired up as anything about the kickoff coverage. That was really impressive by our guys. I thought Brian Polian did a tremendous job. With the exception of the fumbled punt, kickoff coverage was good. Nate Whitaker tying a Stanford school record was huge. I was pleased with the play of our special teams and the way our defense played. Thought that was an outstanding performance by our defense. Tough to get pressure on this quarterback. He gets the ball out great and quick. I thought we were able to do that. Made some big plays in the back end. Delano Howell did a great job coming up, changing momentum with some of those hits. Chase Thomas. Gave a game ball to Owen Marecic. Tremendous job by him. Scored a touchdown. Offensively got one on the interception. Then all the plays you don’t see, all the tackles inside, linebacker, the way he blocked I thought was just a great, great game by him. Gave away some other game balls, too. Gave away a lot of game balls, probably about five this game. Told the team if I was at USD, I gave away that many game balls, we wouldn’t be able to play the next week. We’re really happy about the win and we’ll move forward and get ready for Oregon.

Q. Jim, the defensive game plan was pretty effective.
COACH HARBAUGH: We really wanted to get penetration, do a good job up front knocking ’em back, chipping the tight end, Rudolph, trying to keep him without the ability to get free access into our defense and our secondary. Thought we did a good job containing him. He’s a heck of a player. Try to get pressure, which is really hard. Dayne Crist gets the ball out so quick. Got good weapons to go to. We just made some plays in the back end in the secondary and up front. At the linebacker level, Shayne Skov had a heck of a ballgame, so did Owen Marecic. The two outside linebackers played as well as I thought they had, Thomas and Keiser. Good job by Vic Fangio, our defensive coordinator, defensive staff, players executing. Good day for us defensively. Talk about trying to go on the road, win in a really tough place to win a game. Talk about hostile environment. Classy environment, but hostile for a visiting team. In order to win in that situation, you really got to be able to bring your defense and have your defense play well. We talk about packing the defense for the road games. Thought we did that today.

Q. How would you assess Andrew’s day?
COACH HARBAUGH: He made some terrific throws all game long, including the first one, the touchdown. They brought everybody, except for four. Zero blitz, played zero coverage. He bought some time and threw a heck of a ball to Fleener. Fleener looked to me like he had about a second and a half of hang time up in the air and was able to make a heck of a catch. But got the ball down field, made some big throws to Konrad Reuland, Griff Whalen. The big one to Stepfan Taylor. Got free out of the backfield, half back post. He had a very good day, managed the game extremely well. You may talk about the two interceptions, those were really good plays by Notre Dame, both tips. Happened to be a guy there to pick off the tip. But thought he played very well.

Q. Big picture. When you were in your first couple years, could see a start of a season like this coming the first couple years?
COACH HARBAUGH: A lot of hard work by our players. They play to win and play for each other. That’s the kind of attitude you want out of your ballgame.

Q. You kidded this is the biggest press conference you’ve been in. In terms of victories, how big is it, given the stage?
COACH HARBAUGH: You know, it’s big. It’s a big win for us. We just look at every game like it’s a championship game. In order to win the championship, you got to win your next ballgame. This was the next game, coming here, executing well. Winning on the road is extremely important if you’re going to be a champion. Now next week is the big game. We’ll be excited for Monday’s practice, to be honest with you, meetings, getting ready for the next one. But this team will move forward with humble hearts. Got to have a great week of preparation to get ready next week for Oregon.

Q. There was an offensive drive for you in the middle of the third quarter where you ran almost every play. Can you talk about what you saw and what you feel you see in your offensive line.
COACH HARBAUGH: Well, I mean, we really needed to grind some meat. I thought they did a heck of a job. Stepfan Taylor, in particular. The runningback seemed to get stronger as he went along. None of our backs had that many carries. I think he had almost 30 or maybe right there at 30 carries. That was kind of unchartered waters for our young backs. Experienced offensive line was doing a good job. I don’t know who won the battle up front, to be honest with you. I thought it was a really fight on both sides of the ball up front. We’d get knocked back, we would knock them back, they would knock us back, and so on. It was tough up front. When we needed to grind some meat, our guys hunkered down, treated every play like it was important, and we were able to put together some good drives that ended in some field goals. But those were important points.

Q. Coming into this game, would you have considered it a crazy notion that your field goal kicker would outscore the offense you were playing against?
COACH HARBAUGH: No. I mean, of course not. But it was a great day by Nate. He had a really good week of preparation. I know this game meant a lot to him and his family. To come out and play well, really the way he kicked off was equally as important in the ballgame. Deep kickoffs every single one, he hit it true, allowed us to get down there and play good kickoff coverage. Really fired up about our kickoff coverage. Guys were running and hitting and playing. That was really important in the field position game today.

Q. So few players that play both ways. How impressive was what Owen did, especially that late in the game?
COACH HARBAUGH: I’ve called him a lot of things. He’s a perfect football player. Just never been around a guy like this in 30 some years of playing college, pro football and in coaching. He does everything right. He’s conditioned himself to play that kind of football game. He’s worked extremely hard. Then to really consider just mentally what that takes to learn both systems, offensively and defensively, to be able to go out there and execute and make plays. You know, he’s the perfect football player. You know, a couple of the other things about Owen, he’s a very humble guy, very quiet guy, but takes a lot of pride in what he’s doing. Just treats every game like no matter what he’s proved in the past, now he’s proven it again. It’s unchartered waters. Nobody’s doing it except for him. I think the biggest thing is that he’s playing the two most physical positions in the game of football: fullback and middle linebacker. Just got to take your hat off to him and enjoy watching it, ’cause I sure do.

Q. You mentioned a few minutes ago how good it felt to come into a hostile environment and play well. Is there a carryover? How valuable can this experience be for next Saturday?
COACH HARBAUGH: Well, I mean, it’s big. Football, it’s the best sport out there. It’s a tremendous game, first of all. It’s a game that really tests a man’s courage. To win a ballgame, I mean, that is a great thing. Then to be able to go into another stadium, into a hostile environment, I mean, nothing makes you feel quite like a man like that does, you know. So I think it will be good for our football team. But, you know, every week in college football is a new week and your season can turn on one week. Just important for us to move forward, get ready for Oregon, keep going with humble hearts, keep working.

Q. Jim, has Stepfan Taylor solidified the number one tailback role or was that part of that a function of the fact that Gaffney got hurt early?
COACH HARBAUGH: Yeah, I mean, Gaffney did. He came out of the ballgame. We would have liked to have gone to Gaffney on some of those downs. But Stepfan really stepped up, played a heck of a game. I think he went over a hundred yards. I don’t know for sure about that. But seemed that way. Caught the ball out of the backfield. Did a real nice job in protection. He’s a young back. He’s only in his second year. But, you know, it’s one of those games that really will be great for his confidence, you know, and for our ballclub’s confidence in him. Right now I’d say yes.

Q. Coach, I’d like to ask you about, you mentioned kickoff coverage. What other things went well? What other things do you think your team did really well as positives?
COACH HARBAUGH: Well, I thought the biggest positives were the way we played on special teams, the way we played defensively. The physical nature of the ballgame by our defense with Chase Thomas, with Keiser, with Fua, Masifilo. Secondary Delano Howell came up with some big hits, was triggering, coming up fast. When he got there, there were big hits. Those are big momentum changers in a ballgame. Coverage was outstanding against a very quality quarterback and quality receivers, a system that is extremely tough to defend, especially on one week’s practice notice. So then the linebackers. I thought Shayne Skov was outstanding, along with Maurice. So many positives there defensively, special teams wise. We talked a little bit about the offense. But, you know, to be honest with you, we’re kind of moving on right now. Thought the players executed well. That’s the biggest positive. I thought they really took the approach of every play is important and played the ballgame that way from start to finish. Maybe that’s the biggest positive of all.

Q. You talked about Crist being a quality quarterback. What do you like about him?
COACH HARBAUGH: He plays with a lot of poise, really good stature in the pocket, sees the field extremely well, gets the ball out very quickly. He’s an accurate, decisive quarterback. He’s a heck of a competitor, too. You saw that today. He took some shots. Never lingered on the ground, adjusted any pads or anything. He popped right back up and kept firing it. He’s outstanding. Good football team we played today. Thank you.

Player Quotes

Manti Te’o – So – Inside Linebacker

On his career-high 21 tackle performance…
“I would like to give thanks to my teammates. We all did our jobs. We were in the right (gaps). I don’t count my tackles, I just do the best I can. That is about it. It doesn’t matter if I have a hundred (tackles), if we don’t win.”

On Stanford’s late offensive surge…
“It (Stanford’s back-to-back touchdowns in the fourth quarter) is part of football. You win some and you lose some. Our defense battled today.”

On the psyche of the team after a tough start to the season…
“Stay focused. Stay ready. Believe in ourselves. It is the first quarter of our season. We can’t get down on one another. We just have to keep trusting each other and keep relying on each other. Come back each week ready to work.”

Jamoris Slaughter – Jr – Safety

On the ability of the Stanford offense…
“He (Luck) made some really good throws to the tight end on certain downs, so we just have to come out next week and be more attentive (so we can) make plays on our side.”

On the defenses mindset in the fourth quarter…
“We were thinking about coming back out (to play defense), trying to make a play so our offense can score, but once (Stanford) got the interception and returned it for a touchdown, (the game) got out of hand.”

On the play of the Irish squad as a whole…
“I feel like today we just didn’t execute the way we had to. As a team I want to see us come out as a team, on all sides of the ball; offense, defense and special teams. And do all the right things so we can win the game.”

On the expectations of the team coming into the game…
“I had no idea it would come out 37-14. We have to focus harder than we have so we can come back out and beat BC next week.”

On the team philosophy after a loss…
“We try to stay focused, even with the losses. It kind of got out of hand today, but we still know we’re a good team. We’re only a couple of plays away from being 4-and-0. We just have to keep our heads up so we can come out every week and win these games. “

Darrin Walls – Sr – Cornerback

On the setback to Stanford…
“I think we’re disappointed with the loss. Stanford is obviously a good team, Michigan State was a good team. We lost a couple of tough battles, but we know on our side we are making fewer mistakes. In the end we just have to keep fighting.”

On the ability of Stanford’s offense to move the ball…
“They (Stanford) have a good offense, a really good offense, probably one of the top in the nation. We have a lot of work to do. They executed well they and read our game plan the way it was supposed to be read (to be stopped).”

On the need to create turnovers on the defensive side of the ball…
“We practice pass-break reps in practice and ball destructions every day of practice, and they just didn’t bounce our way today. We have to get some turnovers for our offense.”

On Stanford’s ability to convert third-down conversions…
“They (Stanford) run the ball well, they’re a good offense. We weren’t able to get them off (the field) on third downs, and that was the key.”

On where the Irish go from here…
“It’s easier to lay down, but I don’t think any of our guys are going to do that. We still have a shot at going 9-3. The team is going to fight during every game.”

Chris Stewart – Sr – Offensive Line

On Coach Kelly’s post-game message…
“Coach Kelly stressed that we need to keep fighting. This is a challenging time for us, but it’s up to us to decide how we are going to respond. We can take each day and learn from it and get better.”

On the last three games…
“There are 12 games in the season and we have lost three. The season isn’t over and we aren’t giving up. Even if the outcome isn’t how we would like it, we’re still going to go out there each day to make improvements in order to get better.”

Theo Riddick – So – Wide Receiver

On an overall evaluation of the team…
“We are still going to work hard. Our goal hasn’t changed. We still want to win games and we will fight until the end. Our hard work will pay off for us. There is a confidence in the atmosphere of our team and I can see the drive in my teammates eyes. It’s what will keep us going and eventually we’ll come out on top.”

Armando Allen – Sr – Tailback

On Stanford’s ability to stop the Irish rushing game…
“We have to give Stanford’s defense credit for today. They came ready, and played a physical game today.”

On preparing for next week’s game against Boston College…
“Our team can’t let this get us down. This doesn’t change that we need to work hard. We have to be mentally tough and ready to practice everyday. We can’t change the past from here, we can only move forward. We all need to have the same mentality and attitude that we can get better. I know this is a unique group that has the talent and ability to make plays. Now we just need to put everything together and work as a team.”