SOUTH BEND – Notre Dame quarterback Tommy Rees heard the crowds reaction when he replaced starter Everett Golson for the final drive in last weeks 20-17 win over Purdue.
But the 6-foot-2, 210-pound junior didnt have a lot of time to think about being booed with the game in his hands with just more than 2 minutes to play.
I didnt ever really care all that much, Rees said of being booed. Thats the last thing that is going through your head with the game on the line.
Rees orchestrated a 12-play, 55-yard drive that set up Kyle Brindzas 27-yard field goal to defeat Purdue. He completed 3 of 8 passes for 35 yards, spiking the ball twice, on the drive.
Rees also came up with two big third-down throws. He hit Bishop Dwenger graduate John Goodman for a 10-yard gain on third-and-6 and Robby Toma for a 21-yard gain on third-and-10 during the drive.
All of that came after Rees was suspended for the first game of the season because of a May arrest and after he was relegated to being mainly a spectator and extra coach during fall camp as others competed for the starting job he filled for 12 games last season.
Theres been some highs, theres been some lows here, Rees said of leading the game-winning drive. But the highs definitely outweigh the lows. The crowds emotions were a little flipped at the end of the game.
Rees and Andrew Hendrix will back up Golson this week when No. 20 Notre Dame (2-0) travels to play No. 10 Michigan State (2-0).
Rees would rather be starting, as he has 16 times, and not hear negative reactions from fans, but he also will not let the bad outweigh the good of being an Irish quarterback.
I never tried to use negative comments as motivation, Rees said. Ive always thought if you are playing quarterback for Notre Dame, that is motivation enough. The guys in the locker room, the coaches, that is all you need.