Another week, another last-second finish for Notre Dame.
The Irish, ranked fifth in the initial College Football Playoff rankings, beat Temple on the road, 24-20, this after Notre Dame quarterback DeShone Kizer found Will Fuller for a 17-yard touchdown pass with just over two minutes to go.
Just like that, with a flick of a wrist, Notre Dame is still alive for the playoff.
“It was another good week and another good victory for the Irish,” Kizer said on CBS Sports Radio’s The Doug Gottlieb Show. “It’s becoming kind of a normal experience for us to be in those situations at the end of the game. Unfortunately we don’t want to be in those situations, but to come out victorious two out of three times on last-second drives is pretty good for us. We just want to make sure we do whatever we can to get out of those games and to be in a position (where) maybe I don’t have to be on the field at the end of the game.”
Notre Dame trailed 20-17 late in the fourth quarter but drove 75 yards in six plays.
“(We know) we’re completely capable of going down the field and putting up points anytime we touch the ball,” Kizer said. “I think we have the personalities on the team where you don’t say anything. You just go out there and you execute. You don’t want to change yourselves. You don’t want to say something that you typically wouldn’t say. We just all have this unspoken confidence about ourselves that once the ball is in our hand, we have an opportunity to go win a game, we’re going to go win it. It’s exciting. This is what you come to play football for at Notre Dame to do. You choose to put yourself into (this) when you decide to play a schedule like we play at Notre Dame. With the lights on and with all the screaming fans going wild, we had another opportunity to win a game – and we did.”
Kizer, who was thrust into action following a season-ending injury to Malik Zaire in the second week of the season, is now 5-1 as a starter, with the only loss coming at No. 1 Clemson by two points.
A few months ago, relatively few people knew who Kizer was. Now he’s the starter on a national championship contender.
“It’s pretty awesome,” the Ohio native said. “It’s something I dreamed abut, having an opportunity to play. Now, I didn’t necessarily want it to be (because of) anyone else’s injury, but sometimes opportunities come and you got to just make sure that you’re prepared for it. My time finally came in Virginia when Malik went down. I didn’t really have too much of an opportunity to think about it too much and allow the moment to become too big. It just happened so quickly that I had to get out there and play. We were in the end zone after one handoff, and things just kind of moved really quickly. It was definitely a really special experience to play in that Virginia game and to get my first time out there in a situation that we needed to go win a game. It’s really awesome for me to have the opportunity to be the quarterback here, but like I said, it’s never (something) you want to (have) happen (because) of someone else’s injury.”
Kizer, who played high school ball at Toledo Central Catholic, is now fulfilling a dream: being the starting quarterback at Notre Dame.
“I couldn’t dream as big as what this opportunity has been to me,” he said. “I didn’t necessarily understand the things that come along with being in the position I’m in – just all the off-the-field stuff that nobody really understands, every day, your spotlight and your status is going to be evaluated by probably thousands of people in that one day. I never really understood that. You can’t necessarily have a bad day. You have to be able to represent your university and represent your football program in everything you do. It’s something that I take complete responsibility of. I love it. This is why I came here. This is what I wanted to do. It’s just an amazing experience to be where I am right now. I just want to take this special moment that I have and make it even more special by putting ourselves in a position to hopefully accomplish the mission we set out for in the beginning of the year.”