Seniors Go Out in Style

The Irish sent their seniors out with a 34-10 victory over the University of Syracuse. The victory upped the Irish record to 8-2 with one regular season contest remaining against the Stanford Cardinal. Although the Irish were sluggish in the early going, they hung in there and came away with an important win, especially for the seniors. The team as whole saluted the students and fans after the game in a manner that has not been witnessed in the stadium for a long time.

Irish Eyes was able to get quotes from several of the elated Notre Dame players after the game.

Senior Receiver Matt Shelton

Your thoughts on the victory lap?

"I enjoyed it, but I kind of cramped up there at the end. I didn't know we were doing a circle; I thought we were just going down and back. I don't know, I just saw guys running so I just took off following them."

Coach Weis indicated you guys were a little tight at the beginning.

"Yeah it seemed a little tight. We didn't come out the way we thought we would, and I think everybody felt we let ourselves down as we didn't come out like we know we can. Coach gave us a little pep talk and got on us, and we came back."

Is there any anxiety about playing a team that you are absolutely supposed to beat?

"I know on offense, no; because that defense is good. And I don't care what anybody says or what their stats say, and I don't care about their record, that team is good. They have solid DB's; they're good, they're just having an off year now."

You don't worry about their record; you worry about their DB's. Is that right?

"Personally for us as receivers, we watch their DB's and that's who we go against the most, and they are a solid group."

Did the wind sort of play with things, especially in the first quarter?

"I don't think so. Coach took us out, it was Wednesday I think, and we were out there in 30-40 mph winds, and we did fine. So I think it was good preparation."

Junior defensive tackle Derek Landri

The defense had a pretty good day out there, right?

"Yeah, we played pretty solidly, and we had a couple big plays and overall we did pretty good. We just wanted to come out and attack and play aggressive on defense, and we did that and seized opportunities and made plays."

How big was it to get this win for the seniors and the team?

"It's huge to send the seniors out right; to send the senior students and fans out right; and kind of avenge that loss two years ago, that was pretty bad, against them."

Coach said he thought you were a little tight to start with and had a little talk with you.

"We wanted to set the tempo. We had a no-huddle and we were blitzing a lot and we wanted to start real fast and get on top of them and put the game out of reach so we could get everyone to play tonight. Yeah, we did start a little slow tonight and Coach always has a few choice words that he says to us and gets us going, and we started making plays and scoring a little bit more."

You guys seemed to pressure Patterson. Was that part of your scheme?

"No, that was just basically our goal; lots of blitzes and get lots of pressure on him. Coach Weis wanted us to do that. He wanted us to get in there and put the pressure on so they wouldn't have the opportunity to stick around with us."

You and Corey seemed to be in their backfield a lot today.

"I was just fortunate to beat my guy and get in the backfield, and I'm sure it was the same way for Corey."

How much time do you and the team take to enjoy this final home game win?

"Today and tomorrow we'll finish up with it and watch it on film; then we're off to Stanford."

Senior right guard Dan Stevenson

What does Coach Weis do to see that you keep focused?

"I think it is just his demeanor, the way he talks to us. He's up-front and very honest. He points out why other teams are successful and why they can be successful. It's just something that you believe in him because he is such a leader that everyone just sort of follows suit."

Do you feel like you guys still have your edge?

Yea, definitely, I think there is so much that this team wants to achieve and everyone is always focused on getting better and going out there, and we're never satisfied. And I think that's what makes this team click."

Were you aware that Brady became the all-time leading passer today?

"I honestly had no idea. Brady has come a long way, and it's great to be a part of the team where Brady can make the records."

Senior quarterback Marty Mooney

What did it mean to get in there today and throw that pass for a completion?

"It's unbelievable; all my life I wanted to play football for Notre Dame. So being able to go out there for my last game at Notre Dame and throw one pass completion was like a dream come true."

Your teammates went nuts on that play. What did you think about that?

"The best part of it was seeing their reaction. Seeing Brady, David, and Evan going nuts for me, that was really a good feeling."

Did you hear them chanting for you in the student section?

"There were a lot of people from Saint X here. I had some friends in the stands, and that was nice."

Standing on the field, what was it like hearing that?

"It was pretty cool and the guys were laughing at me when we went into the huddle. But I feel it was pretty neat."

What did you see on that play?

"I just turned to my left and there was a big hole and Mike was wide open in the middle of it. So luckily I didn't throw it at his feet."

What would your teammates have said if you had thrown an incompletion?

"They would probably give me a hard time because Mike is a senior and that was his only catch too, so it was just as important for him as it was for me."

Coach Weis said it was his favorite play of the day. What did he say to you afterwards?

"He said the same thing to me afterwards and he was really happy that Mike and I were fortunate enough to complete a pass. It was really good for all the seniors."

Were you surprised that he let you pass?

"I kind of had a feeling he might let us throw one, but I was really happy that he called the pass play. Because I thought we were just going to run it to run out the clock."

Junior receiver Chase Anastasio

Is that the most blocks you've had in a game?

"Definitely."

How were you able to come off the corner and get your hand on the ball?

"I pretty much shot off the edge and went right at the wing and pushed him back there and got a hand up and nicked the ball a little bit."

Did you see something specifically on tape and did you work on that this week?

"We work on it every week. We work on it a lot every week. We put a lot of emphasis on special teams."

Junior quarterback Brady Quinn

Coach Weis thought you guys were a little tight at the beginning. What can you tell us about that?

"Actually, we talked at certain times Friday and before the game, and I told him I felt that way last night just because there was that feeling you want to play your very best game for the seniors for everything they have done for you, and I think that's the way we came out a little bit tight and we weren't as loose as we usually are, and it really kind of affected us a little bit when we came out offensively."

Did you teach Mooney that pass?

"No, that was awesome. It was kind of a great way to cap off the game, to convert on third down like that, and he probably has the highest passing efficiency in Notre Dame history."

You say you don't look at records, but now you are at the top of the heap. How do you feel about that?

"I'll be here next year, so it really doesn't matter at this point because I still have so much time here and we have Stanford next week and that is all we are really focusing on."

The 3,000 yard passing for the season, is that a goal that you set for yourself?

"No, I just want to go out there and win every game, and that's the only goal you set for yourself. Other than that, you want to be as efficient as possible and I try to achieve perfection the best I can."

You guys seem to have gotten more balance the last few weeks. Does this make you more dangerous?

"I think so. Any time you have a balanced attack and the defense can't predict or hone in on one part of your offensive scheme, I think, obviously, it makes you a little more dangerous whether you are running the ball or passing the ball."

Were you ever concerned that this team would become one-dimensional?

"No, I think our offense has too many weapons where we can kind of adjust to anything. No matter what kind of defensive scheme they are playing, or no matter what they try to shut us down with, we have enough weapons to adjust and make things happen."


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