Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly said Saturday’s home game against Pittsburgh has the feeling of a conference matchup for him.
That is no surprise; Kelly went 2-1 against Pittsburgh when he coached Cincinnati in the Big East.
Because this is the first opponent this season Kelly has played before, and vice versa, the coach said execution and creativity will be needed to defeat the Panthers.
“You gotta have some wrinkles,” Kelly said. “They know what you’re doing. Both of us know each other so well. You go into the conference, everybody knows what they’re going to get from each other. This isn’t like some of the games early in the year where sometimes we didn’t have really good film to know what was going on. We know each other well enough. That’s where you want to maybe tweak some things that you’ve done in the past.”
The recent past between Kelly and Pittsburgh produced one of the more entertaining games of last season. The Bearcats overcame a large deficit to pull out a 45-44 victory to complete a perfect regular season.
“Going undefeated is a goal that everybody is looking for when they sign up to be a coach; you want to win all your games,” Kelly said. “It really wasn’t about the bowl game; it really was about finishing the season undefeated. That was clearly a milestone. The game itself was one of those games where you look back on and go, players making plays.”