The game didn’t play out the way anyone had expected, but Notre Dame still got itself a 19-14 win over Pittsburgh and moved to 7-0 on the season. The Fighting Irish remained undefeated on the year and are now ranked as the No. 4 team in the country.
As they do every week, the Notre Dame media department takes Fighting Irish fans behind the scenes with a look at how things played out on Saturday.
The video opens up with some shots from tailgating, an update on a few details regarding the matchup, and the importance of getting the second half of the season off to a great starter. Then we head into the locker room to hear from head coach Brian Kelly.
“For the next 3 and a half hours, we are locked in our job, and our job as Notre Dame football players is to go out there and dominate our opponent. That’s how we’re going to play today. One play at a time, spot the ball, and let’s go play.”
We then hit the field and the action begins inside Notre Dame Stadium. Quarterback Ian Book starts making some plays, in addition to the Fighting Irish defense laying some big hits on Pittsburgh.
The Panthers find the end zone and take the early lead, but kicker Justin Yoon responds with a field goal and Noter Dame trims the deficit to 7-3.
We then return to the action and wide receiver Chris Finke and tight end Aliz’e Mack make some nice catches. Kicker Justin Yoon returns to the field to connect on another field goal and the Irish head into halftime trailing 7-6.
Inside the locker room, we first hear from offensive coordinator Chip Long, as he looks to get his team completely locked in.
“Alright, we’re going to find out what kind of team we are in the second half. Take care of what we can take care of, one play at a time.”
This is all before head coach Brian Kelly speaks to the game one more time prior to returning to the field.
“You’ve got to go win the second half. It’s that simple. You’ve got to do it one play at a time. You’ve got to trust your teaching. You’ve go to trust each other. You can’t do it on your own. You’ve got to do it together. So, you stay together, in good and bad, and we fight together. No matter what happens, we stay together.”
The second half action is underway and we see shots of defensive end Julian Okwara making plays, as well as a pass break up from cornerback Julian Love. This comes before a missed field by Pittsburgh, which has Notre Dame Stadium rocking.
The offense returns to the field and we see a long catch by wide receiver Miles Boykin. Chris Finke makes another grab. Then the Irish finally find the end zone when quarterback Ian Book hits Chase Claypool, which trims Pittsburgh’s lead to 14-12.
It’s time for the defense to step up and that’s exactly what takes place. Once again it is defensive end Julian Okwara with a huge stop on 3rd and 3 and the Irish get the ball back. After a nice carry by running back Dexter Williams and a throw-and-catch to Miles Boykin for a first down, quarterback Ian Book hits Boykin for a long touchdown, which proves to be the winner. The Irish lead 19-14.
The defense hits the field ready to put on a show and that’s what happened. They were dominant, got after the quarterback and then stopped Pittsburgh on a fake field goal. Defensive lineman Khalid Kareem was able to get a sack on the Panthers’ final drive and following pressure from Julian Okwara, Pitt quarterback Kenny Pickett’s pass was broken up by freshman cornerback TaRiq Bracy. That was the ball game and another win for the Fighting Irish. Once again, head coach Brian Kelly spoke to his group inside the locker room following another victory.
“Our defense played very well today. They did things out there today that got us off the field when we needed to, made the big plays necessary at the end of the game, we had young guys out there making plays. If you’re a championship football team, you look back, you’re going to have to win a game like that. Do we want to win every game like that? Hell no! We have to grind it out and you find a way to win. You did that today. You made enough plays today to win the football game. You need to understand that when we get back, it’s time to reset and we start all over again with a five game season. Ok? A five game season. So, congratulations, great win, great job of being gritty and hanging in there for four quarters. Not a lot of stuff went right for us and you just kept clawing in it and just kept playing. You’ve got to win games like this. Proud of the effort in this room. Proud of you guys. Just keep playing and finding a way to win. Great job.”
Notre Dame heads into the bye week undefeated, as they begin preparation for Navy the following weekend.