Post-Notre Dame interview: Ben Gardner

Stanford's defensive line keyed a strong Cardinal defensive effort in their 28-14 win over Notre Dame on Saturday night. One of the defensive stars was Ben Gardner, who notched one of Stanford's five sacks. After the game, The Bootleg caught up with Ben Gardner to get his thoughts on the victory and Stanford's senior class.

The Bootleg: Talk about this win, what does it mean to you?

Ben Gardner: It's big for us, for a few different reasons. First to send these seniors out the right way at home, their final home game, just to be out there playing with those guys. Delano, Michael Thomas, Johnson Bademosi, Matt Masifilo, all the guys who won't be here next year. To send them out the right way with probably our best defensive performance meant a lot. Then the obvious BCS implications, we don't know where we'll end up, but it's nice to finish out 11-1 and we'll see what happens now.

TB: Talk about the defensive front, and how you guys were able to get so much pressure on them all night long.

BG: Our coaches dialed up some great schemes, as they do every week. This week especially, our pressures that we dialed up were really effective and guys were not quitting. Great motors from all the guys, Chase Thomas, Masifilo, Trent Murphy, everybody was getting home and really just playing hard. That's what we needed and it paid off for us.

TB: And then the run defense, Notre Dame never seemed to get in a rhythm there either?

BG: That's what we hang our hat on every game. Every week we talk about stopping the run first. If we can do that, we know we can be successful, just guys doing their job, playing their gaps, getting knock-back and being physical. That's what we do as a defense.

TB: You talked about wanting to win for the seniors, what sort of mark have they left on you in your development as a player?

BG: They've helped me tremendously, brought me along all season, and really my entire career here. Taught me how to win and taught me how to work. I can't thank those guys enough, ever since I came in, just showing me what it takes to be a winner at this level and it's paid dividends for me as well as the other younger guys on the defense.

TB: I know you haven't been a part of all of them, but is there anything extra special to win three straight against a team like Notre Dame, or do you just view it as a faceless opponent?

BG: They are a rival for us and anytime you play a team every year you want to build a streak and you want to beat them every season, so definitely there is a little extra juice out there tonight. It wasn't too chippy but there were times when it was chippy, and it's great to get a win against those guys.

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