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Notre Dame is always playing for something

SOUTH BEND – Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly wisely avoided any controversy of whether the Irish have a rivalry with in-state foe Purdue (1-1).

"I think any time that you're playing a team in-state, there's certainly recognition of that as a rivalry game," Kelly said.

Kelly also pointed out that nearly every game the No. 21 Irish (1-1) is a rivalry game.

"In front of our offices, I think we have five or six rivalry trophies sitting in front of our office, and each and every week, it's a rivalry game," Kelly said.

This week, Notre Dame and Purdue will be playing for the Shillelagh Trophy, which the Irish have won 37 times in the 56-year history of the award.

While there are plenty of trophies for the Irish to collect throughout the season because of their history with numerous programs, fifth-year senior Dan Fox said he doesn't pay a lot attention to the trophies.

"Obviously, we'd like to keep the trophies around, but at least for me, I just focus on the game," Fox said. "I don't say, 'I'm playing for the trophy.' I'm just playing the game."

Fox also said that the history the Irish have against their opponents is not a burden on the players.

"That's what you get when you come to play at Notre Dame," Fox said. "You are going to get the history. You are going to get the tradition. You are going to get all of the fans. You are going to get all the pressure. You know when you come here, that is what you are going to get."

The Journal Gazette's Assistant Sports Editor Tony Krausz covers The University of Notre Dame. Krausz, a graduate of the University of Missouri School of Journalism and a native of St. Louis, has been assistant sports editor since October 2005. Prior to joining the JG, he worked at two papers in Mississippi covering high school and college athletics.