SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- Notre Dame's 31-13 win over Michigan State didn't impress Brian Kelly because it was the Fighting Irish's first victory of the season. No, the second-year head coach was content because of how they won, outmuscling a team that won a share of last year's Big Ten title in large part because of its play in the trenches.
"That's where we started this journey, is to begin with recruiting on defense, playing a tougher style of football," Kelly said Tuesday at his weekly news conference. "And to do that, you gotta be able to control the line of scrimmage. You also have to do it physically, you have to do it in the weight room, you have to develop the work volume that allows you to do that to play consistently, so all these things are coming together for us. When people talk about what's truly the foundation is exactly that -- the foundation of this program has gotta be built on being able to control the line of scrimmage, because that's how you build consistency, and we're getting better at that level."
The Irish held MSU to 29 rushing yards Saturday, forcing quarterback Kirk Cousins to throw more than 50 times.
Notes: Kelly said the family matter that forced Prince Shembo to miss Saturday's game "turned out to be quite remarkable." ... Lo Wood has no structural damage in his quad but has soreness when slowing down. Nonetheless, he is expected to play Saturday at Pitt.