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Clemson Coaches and Players Discuss the Monumental Win Over Notre Dame

Here is what some of the Clemson coaches and players had to say following Clemson's 24-22 victory over Notre Dame.

• Clemson becomes just the fifth current FBS school with a winning record over Notre Dame (given a minimum of three games). Clemson now has a 2-1 advantage in the series. The others with a series advantage over the Fighting Irish are Florida State (6-2), Michigan (24-17-1), Ohio State (3-2) and Nebraska (8-7-1).

 • Dabo Swinney is now 7-3 against teams ranked in the top 10 by at least one of the two major polls entering the game.

 • Swinney and the Tigers have now defeated eight of the top-20 winningest programs in the history of college football over the last five years. The Tigers have a 10-4 record against the top-20 programs since 2011. Other top-20 programs Clemson has defeated the last five years are Ohio State (No. 4), Oklahoma (No. 5), Florida State (No. 11), Louisiana State (No. 13), Georgia (No. 14), Auburn (No. 17) and Virginia Tech (No. 20).  Clemson plays at No. 15 Miami (Fla.) on October 24.

 • Swinney has now tied Danny Ford for the most wins by an ACC coach eight years into his career in the league. Ford had 65 by the end of his eighth year and tonight was Swinney’s 65th win.

 • Both Swinney and Ford had one of those 65 wins within the first eight years of their careers against Notre Dame. The Alabama graduates accomplished something former Alabama coach Paul Bryant could not do. Bryant was 0-4 in his career against Notre Dame.

 • Clemson has now won 12 straight games at home dating to a loss to Florida State in 2013. The Tigers have won 29 of their last 31 games at home and are 42-6 at home under Swinney.

 • Clemson is now 8-2 with at least 11 days to prepare for a regular-season game under Swinney.

 • Brian Kelly was the eighth winningest active FBS coach by percentage entering tonight’s game. With this win, Swinney has now defeated seven of the top 10 over the last five years. The other top-10 winningest coaches Swinney has beaten since 2011 are Urban Meyer of Ohio State (No. 1), Jimbo Fisher of Florida State (No. 2), Bob Stoops of Oklahoma (No. 3), Mark Richt of Georgia (No. 7), Les Miles of Louisiana State (No. 9) and Steve Spurrier of South Carolina (No. 10).

 • Clemson is now 3-1 when ESPN College GameDay comes to its campus.

 • Notre Dame was ranked No. 6 in the AP poll entering the game. It ties for the sixth-highest ranked team Clemson has defeated in its history, regardless of site. Clemson has beaten a No. 3 ranked team twice (Florida State in 2003 and Virginia Tech in 2011). Tonight’s win is the highest ranked team Clemson has beaten in the AP poll since the Tigers defeated No. 5 Georgia to open the 2013 season.

 • Tonight was just Clemson’s fifth all-time victory on October 3. Entering tonight, Clemson was 4-11-1 on this date for a 28.1 winning percentage, the worst winning percentage on any date on the calendar given a minimum of four games.

 • Clemson has won seven games in a row over two years. It is Clemson’s longest winning streak since the Tigers won seven in a row during the 2012 season.

 • Clemson has won 13 of its last 14 games over two years. It is the first time Clemson has done that since winning 14 of 15 games over the 2012 and 2013 seasons.

• Clemson was the first team to score against Notre Dame on its opening drive this year.

INDIVIDUAL

• Deshaun Watson was 2-3 passing for 15 yards and had one carry for 38 yards on Clemson’s opening drive.

• Watson’s 38-yard rush was the longest of his career, and his 93 overall rushing yards surpassed his previous career high of 54, set against Louisville on Sept. 17, 2015.

• Shaq Lawson has recorded at least 1.5 tackles for loss in every game this season, and his 3.5 recorded against Notre Dame was his second game of the season with at least three.

• Clemson’s 14-3 advantage over the Fighting Irish at the end of the first quarter was the first time this season Notre Dame has been outscored in that respective quarter.

• Ammon Lakip’s caused fumble to open the second half was his first tackle of the season and was the first caused fumble by a Clemson kicker since Nov. 12, 2011, when Spencer Benton had one on a kickoff against Wake Forest.

• Clemson had five of eight punts downed inside the Notre Dame 20 yard line, including Greg Huegel’s first career punt in the third quarter.

• Wayne Gallman’s 98 rushing yards was his fourth straight game of rushing for 75+ yards.

• The attendance for tonight’s game was 82,415, Clemson’s largest crowd of the season.

• Artavis Scott’s 128 kickoff-return yards were a career high and most by a Tiger this in 2015.

• B.J. Goodson’s interception with 6:36 left in the fourth quarter was the first of his career.

 

POSTGAME QUOTES

Clemson Head Coach Dabo Swinney

Overall thoughts:
"I'm so proud of our team tonight. Give all the credit to Notre Dame, they fought hard. We had them on the ropes and they fought back. Now we're 4-0, gonna enjoy it tonight and get back to ACC play next week against Georgia Tech. They're the biggest game of the year, and we've got a long way to go. We'll start that process tomorrow."

On fan atmosphere:
"First, I want to thank our fans. They showed up to make sure that we showed up. It was a magical night...one of those nights I'll never forget. You get special moments, they're all big, and tonight was a magical night. And our fans were unbelievable. Tiger Walk was like I'd never seen it. They didn't care about the rain, and neither did our guys. They were electric, and when we needed them in the fourth quarter, they were there. I can't say enough about them."

On his team:
"This was a team win and a complete effort. Obviously, the weather was a mess, and Tony (Elliott) and Jeff (Scott) did a great job on offense putting it in the offensive linemen's hands, and we made enough plays. I'm really proud of our guys. They played with a lot of heart and a lot of guts. And that's what it's all about. We gave up some big plays, but we just kept playing. I told them it was going to be a few plays, and there was nothing bigger than that last play at the end. Everything counts, and it's great to be a Tiger."

Clemson Running Back Wayne Gallman

On if the win puts Clemson on the national stage:
"That was the challenge. All the critics said we can't do this, we can't do that. We proved it and we have more to prove, so we aren’t done."

On the playing conditions:
"The rain was starting to come down, so we really tried to put the ball in me and Deshaun’s hands."

Clemson Wide Receiver Artavis Scott

On what the win means going forward:
"We are going to move forward. This is just one team and we had to get past them. We are going to keep it going, and on to Georgia Tech."

On looking like he was tackled on the touchdown:
"It was big. These types of games, you have to be a playmaker, that was my biggest goal, going out and making those plays and going out and doing what I know I can do."

Clemson Linebacker B.J. Goodson

On the attitude on the field during the two-point conversion attempt by Notre Dame:
“We relied on each other to do our jobs. I have great trust in my guys and I know they feel the same towards me to do my part. Those guys do a great job of preparation, from the coaches right down to the players. Accountability is everything. The game was on the line, literally, and I felt confident. That’s a great thing to feel. I owe it all to the coaches and my teammates. You don’t realize how important it is to have that feeling.”

On what he was thinking about when the offense was struggling and the defense had to go out and win the game:
“I think our offense did a great job tonight. We played a great opponent in bad weather conditions and came out on top. We definitely have some things we need to and can work on, but that’s the case every week. We all have our perspectives of what we see and do our best to harness our talents as best as we can as a team.”

On how he wants to be remembered:
“I want my legacy here at Clemson to be known and remembered as gritty...someone who isn’t afraid to get down in those trenches and do work.”
 

Clemson Cornerback Mackensie Alexander

On the matchup with Will Fuller:
“I’m just a blessed individual. I’m blessed to have great coaches and great teammates. This is something I’ve been doing my whole life. Check my background. I’ve been locking guys up all my life. He was a very talented individual and I was blessed enough to play against him and compete with him tonight. It was great.”

On Notre Dame:
“It’s a whole lot of momentum for us..a whole lot of momentum. Going out there and doing what we wanted to do and what we have been talking about and preparing for so long is surreal. I’m ready to keep this train rolling. We are on top of things right now and we have to keep pushing forward.”

Notre Dame Head Coach Brian Kelly

Overall thoughts:
“Disappointing loss, obviously. If you told me we were going to turn the ball over four times, I would have told you we were going to lose. You wouldn’t have to be a genius to figure that out. We turned the ball over four times and we lost.”

On the maturity of quarterback DeShone Kizer:
“I wish we could have supported him better. I’m really proud of him and the way he competed. He played well enough for us to win.”

On the play of the offensive line:
“Give credit to Clemson. I thought they came out fresh and aggressive and made things difficult for us early on. Certainly, they carried the play in the first half.”

On the play of the Notre Dame’s defense:
“We started poorly defensively. We were tentative and tackled poorly. We weren’t triggering. Of course, our kicking dame did not help. We gave them a short field with a poor punt. There are no moral victories. We can’t go on the road and be tentative offensively. We’ve got to get off to a good start. After that, however, we played the kind of defense that we expect to play here and played well enough defensively after that first quarter, if we didn’t have four turnovers."

On what caused the four turnovers:
“If I knew, we would have coached it better. But you’re talking about veteran players and rookies. A freshman turns it over on a kickoff and then he looks dynamic on the next play. Our two most decorated players, C.J. (Prosise) and Chris Brown, they know how to hold onto a ball and they turned it over. And then DeShone (Kizer) tried to force a ball in there, and he had no right throwing that ball. But those are our guys. We’re going to have to count on them next week. But if you turn it over, you’re not going to win games.”

On what he told the team after the game:
“I said I was very disappointed in them. We’re not here for moral victories. We’re too far along in our program for that. We’ve got to come down here and beat Clemson, and you can’t beat Clemson turning the ball over four times and starting tentative on defense. I was disappointed for them that they did not seize the opportunity that they had. And that was to come down here and play a great team in a very difficult atmosphere and in difficult conditions.”

On Clemson’s defense:
“I thought they had a good plan. They brought pressure when they needed to. I thought coach Venables did a good job mixing things up. We got our running game going a little bit after halftime. Clemson had the week off to prepare and I thought they did some good things against us and forced us to make some adjustments. But we needed to take care of the football.”


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