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Irish Insights


All part of the plan

Notre Dame has had plenty of close calls this season, especially in Notre Dame Stadium, en route to a 9-0 record and the No. 4 spot in the BCS standings, USA Today coaches poll and Associated Press Top 25.

The fun started with Irish coach Brian Kelly going to Tommy Rees at quarterback over Everett Golson in the final minutes of a 20-17 home win over Purdue in the second game of the season.

Then things got more interesting at home. Notre Dame edged Michigan 13-6 in the season's fourth game, and it took four stops on a goal-line stance in overtime to put Stanford away 20-13 on Oct. 13.

But the biggest heart-pounding game last weekend when the Irish went to three overtimes before putting Pittsburgh away 29-26.

Nose guard Louis Nix III said fans shouldn't worry, the down-to-the-wire victories are all part of the plan.

"Coach said to let them go up 20-6 and then come back and have the fans sweating. He told Everett, 'You know, don't do your magic until the last five minutes.' He agreed, touchdown and 2-point conversion, blah, blah. And I hit (running back Cierre Wood) up, and told him to fumble the ball, and then he let it go. And then a missed (field goal)," Nix said smiling.

"I'm just kidding. It was a close one, and we are just happy we won. We just kept fighting the whole game."

Fighting the entire game has become a trademark for this team, and the Irish expect to need to keep fighting when the play at Boston College (2-7) at 8 p.m. Saturday.

"I think it just comes down to our heart, and also the coaches' adjustments that they make," Fox said of being able to win close games. "Throughout the game you can make a lot of adjustments, and they seem to be making the best ones."