Still smarting from their 41-10 defeat against USC on Saturday, the Notre Dame football learned Sunday that their season would continue and they'd be playing in the Insight.com Bow.
Sophomore quarterback Brady Quinn said the opportunity to win another game is plenty enough motivation for him to want to play again.
"It would give this team a great deal of confidence to take into the off-season as far as training and working out and stuff," said Quinn of the bowl game "Last year coming off the Syracuse game we were obviously kind of down and maybe we had some different attitudes. If you ended on a win and get out of there with that I think you can definitely take some positive things into the off-season."
Quinn also said the extra practice time is needed for this Irish team.
"It was a given for me, if there was an opportunity that we'd play in it because this team can only benefit from it," said Quinn when asked if he ever thought it might not be a good idea to go to a bowl. "Just having that extra time to work together and even grow together as a team is vital at this point."
The Dublin, Ohio native has never been to a bowl and says he's looking forward to the experience.
" It'll be a whole new experience but at the same time it maybe similar to something I did in high school," said Quinn. "I'm looking forward to it."
The Irish have lost their last two games and senior linebacker Derek Curry said the opportunity to get a win in a bowl game would be great for his last game.
"We lost our last two ball games and that's an unfortunate situation," said Curry. "We made our bed and now it's time to go out and win a game, especially a bowl game. It'll good for our seniors and good for our program going into next year to start with a win."
Curry also said the extra practice time to prepare for bowls helped him as a young player and will also help the younger Irish players.
"I learned about camaraderie throughout the bowl week because all you have is the guys who are there," said Curry. "Being away in Arizona in that first year was huge because all we did was hangout together the whole time. It wasn't like there were any other distractions or any thing else pulling us away so we had a chance for the whole group to do stuff together and have some events. It was pretty fun."
The Irish have a current six-game losing streak in bowl games. The last Irish bowl victory was against Texas A&M in the Cotton Bowl following the 1993 season.
Curry said ending that streak would be something this team can still accomplish.
"At Notre Dame we're a program that's built on winning and anytime you don't win it's a big deal and even if you do win it's that you didn't win by enough," Curry said. "So we are actually really, really intent on going out and winning this bowl game for ourselves just to finish up the season for next season for the guys coming back and all of the recruits and also for the program to get back to the dominance that this program has established is going to start with this win in the bowl game."
Senior running back Ryan Grant also said the Irish are excited to get a chance to play another game.
"We didn't take care of business to put ourselves in the best position but we are excited at the opportunity we have to play in a bowl game," said Grant. "It's just an opportunity for us to get better as a team. There are things that we want to do for the season next year, to end the season this year especially with our seniors going out on a win will start things right going in to next year and for the program."
The Nyack, N.Y. native says he'd love to get a win in his last game in a Notre Dame uniform.
" This is it for me," said Grant. "I think that for all the seniors with everything that's been going on with this program you want to end on strong note. We owe it to ourselves with all of the preparation we've had and we owe it to the program to start things for next season and get them on the right track."
Grant also admitted that ending the six-game losing streak would be a great ending for this Irish team.
"That's one thing that we definitely want to end," he said. "That's one thing that we've known about and it's being reiterated right now the fact that we haven't won in a long time so that's something we definitely want to end. One of the things that we really take pride in is to end the season with a win. You never want to end your season with a loss because that can carry over and you want to start things right for next year.
Senior defensive end Kyle Budinscak said he just wants his team to have fun with their bowl preparations.
" This year more than anything there is a lot of things surrounding this program right now and I know a lot of people are saying a lot of different things," said Budinscak. "I'd have to be on an island by myself not to hear some of the things people are saying and the problems they are talking about.
"It's a football game and it's going to be a pretty big stage because it's a bowl game. Regardless of any situation we are in with our record and things like that, let's go have fun, let's go play a football game and let it all out."
Like Grant, Budinscak said he'd love to finish his career with a big win on Dec. 28th.
"I would love to leave this place on the right note with a big victory and a dominant victory," said Budinscak. "We've been saying that's our goal the whole year. Certainly you don't ever want to leave a place behind, where you've spent so much time, on a bad note. I'd love to end on the right note."
The Bridgewater, N.J. native also admitted that ending the bowl losing streak is the big prize with this game.
" The fact that we haven't won a bowl game in that long is something that I don't even want to think about," said Budinscak. "Absolutely, let's go win this game and hopefully get these guys off on the right note for next season and build it back up to where all of our expectations are good."
For the Irish to win their bowl game, Budinscak says the Irish will have to fix some of their problems on defense.
"We've let up 10 touchdown passes in the past two games and that's not Notre Dame football," he said. "I'm a defensive lineman so what I have to say is that we need to get more pressure up front. We've had okay pressure at times and stuff like that. But whatever it takes to win is what we need to focus on. If we have to get pressure every play then we'll do that. I don't know, there are so many things that we need to improve on."