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Northwestern-Notre Dame postgame press conference notes

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Here’s what Fitz and players had to say about the loss.

Tristan Jung

Pat Fitzgerald

  • Fitz started the press conference by shouting out Camp Kesem, a student-run organization that supports children with parents who have cancer.
  • On the game as a whole: “They went out an made the plays to win a game like this tonight and obviously we did not...Congratulations to the Fighting Irish”
  • On his team’s mistakes: “Lot of self-inflicted wounds tonight. Second half I think our guys pressed a little bit, especially defensively. There were some plays we gave up tonight that should not have happened.”
  • On whether he felt demoralized when his defense couldn’t get a stop late: “I felt like we could’ve won the game for the whole game...Demoralization is not part of my vocabulary...we gotta play smarter, cleaner.”
  • On defensive struggles at times: “They threw a couple of quick outs and some hitches and it looked like we missed a few tackles.”
  • On Notre Dame quarterback Ian Book: Fitzgerald said that Book didn’t force things and took what they gave him. Reiterated comparison to Dan Persa from the Monday press conference.
  • On the 47-yard touchdown throw: “We just had guys who weren’t executing.”
  • On depth: “I’m not sure who’s going to have to step in...but in November, all of a sudden guys who haven’t played a lot find their way on the field.”
  • Fitz said he watched a bit of Purdue/Iowa before the game but Fitzgerald said he was unaware whether Purdue had won. [Fitzgerald seemed to bristle at the thought of even paying attention to that game, even though I think the scores were shown on the videoboard...credit to him for staying focused though.]
  • On Cam Ruiz’s blocked punt: “It was something we stole from someone else, actually.” Said that NU schemed it well.
  • On the battle in the trenches offensively: “We were able to control the line of scrimmage for a little while, offensively, but when you’re chasing down two scores you change some things offensively...we’re not going to stop running the ball.”

Travis Whillock

  • On his team’s mentality after the game: “Gotta focus on getting better every single day...[proceeded to list days of the week]”
  • On the long TD to Young: “They ran two verticals, I think, and we just didn’t get over the top and they just stretched it on us.”
  • On the hype of the Notre Dame game: “I think it’s an awesome experience but you don’t need to get caught up in it.”
  • On Cam Ruiz: “I think he’s grown as an asset this year...We just saw on the punt he just freakin’ lasered in there.”

Clayton Thorson

  • On Notre Dame’s front seven: “D-Line’s really good. Those guys get pressure and those D-ends and those d-tackles they’re just really good...Got a lot of respect for them.”
  • On his team’s performance: “I think we’re a little disappointed. We feel like we could’ve played better and won the game.”
  • On going winless in the non-conference: “It doesn’t impact the conference race, but you know we’re 0-3 on non-conference games this year and I’m not going to be able to play another non-conference game until the bowl game.”
  • On Notre Dame’s defensive front seven again: “They’re special.”
  • On reestablishing the run game: “Those two weeks where we threw the ball over the plays and ran for 40 yards total, of course I love it...but it’s really big for us.”

Tommy Doles

  • On the crowd at Ryan Field: “One, it’s really disappointing because we had such a great crowd tonight. It was the best atmosphere I’ve ever played in at Ryan Field.
  • On the game as a whole: “Late in the game, you can look back at things you wish would’ve gone differently, but we know it’s a complete game and to win against a team like that we need to put a full game together...I think our defense gave us so many opportunities to win, giving us the short field, giving us the ball back, and so the whole team fought.”