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Winning traits

Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly made sure he used part of his Tuesday afternoon news conference to laud his team's efforts in Saturday's 15-12 win over Pittsburgh.

The victory that moved the Irish (2-2) to .500 for the season wasn't always pretty, but Kelly said he his team showed two traits needed to win games.

"One of the things that I liked about our football team at Pittsburgh was we showed poise and confidence down the stretch," Kelly said. "Those are hard to get to, and I was really pleased. With all the wins that we've had, that's the first time in 2011 that we exhibited poise and confidence."

Kelly will want to see that continue this weekend when Notre Dame travels to play its third Big Ten opponent in the opening five weeks.

The Irish play Purdue (2-1) at 8 p.m. Saturday.

"It's been a rugged schedule for our guys," Kelly said. "Going into Week 5, the most important thing is that our guys are taking care of themselves and making sure we are able to get all of our players at 100 percent on Saturday.

"Our guys have got to do a great job this week of being focused and paying attention to detail in our game plan."

Kelly focused on Purdue's running game and defense during his opening comments.

The Boilermakers running game is ranked 11th nationally, averaging 258.7 yards, and the defense is 33rd nationally, giving up 321.7 yards per game.

"They've shown their ability to run the football," Kelly said. "From a defensive standpoint, (they are) big and physical. I think when you look at their defensive line, that they are inside-out, as big as we will play."

Notre Dame will be playing its second straight game on the road, while Purdue is coming off a bye week. The game will be televised on ESPN.

"Another great challenge on the road for our football team, playing in front of a national audience, again," Kelly said. "But I think the most important thing is that our guys understand how important it is to play your best on the road and find a way to win."

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