In the end it comes down to defense and Notre Dame finally had it against Michigan State.
A stellar performance by the defensive unit , especially stopping the Michigan State run game, left coach Brian Kelly beaming and flashing an unfamiliar smile in his post game press conference.
“I couldn't take it any longer,” Kelly said,. “If I had to listen to you guys another week, I wasn’t going to show up.
“You know what, I think it’s like anything else. I know one thing is that they weren’t lacking confidence, but sooner or later you gotta get paid. You gotta be validated.”
Validation finally arrived and even the fake field goal play that Michigan State pulled off last year was an abject failure this year.
That play especially fired up the Irish who lost last year's game on the last second trick play.
Michigan State coach Mike Dantonio must think the Irish were born yesterday if they were going to fall for that.
They weren't and they didn't.
Despite the victory Kelly will not dwell too long on the result.
He knows this team should be 3-0 or at very least 2-1 and closing in on a major season.
He knows the old flaws were covered up yesterday but three more turnovers adds to the laughable total of 13 in three games
He knows quarterback Tommy Rees is still a work in progress when he had expected Dayne Crist to be the finished product this year.
He will take nothing for granted against Pittsburgh who lost a heart breaker to Iowa on Saturday. After that its Purdue before the schedule stiffens again.
It's been a long season and we are only three games in.
Brian Kelly at least avoided disaster yesterday and a 0-3 start that could have been fatal for his job prospects.
He can be thankful for that at least.