Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly not getting caught up in rankings
BY LAMOND POPE Sun-Times Media October 27, 2013 9:49PM
Updated: October 27, 2013 10:09PM
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Notre Dame used stifling defense — and benefitted from some pass-
interference calls — to beat Michigan State 17-13 on
Sept. 21. Two weeks later, the Irish came up with two late interceptions and held off Arizona State 37-34.
But the Spartans and Sun Devils are ranked and Notre Dame isn’t in the Associated Press media poll released Sunday. The Irish did come
in at No. 25 in the USA
Today coaches’ poll.
Notre Dame won its third consecutive game Saturday, routing Air Force 45-10 to
improve to 6-2, but it still wasn’t able to crack the AP Top 25. Coach Brian Kelly isn’t overly concerned, though.
‘‘I think we’re still in a pretty good position as long as we win,’’ Kelly said during a teleconference Sunday. ‘‘We’ve got to win more football games. We’re only 6-2. If we take care of business and win week after week . . . I think we are right where we need to be. We need to just keep winning football games.’’
Michigan State (7-1) is 24th in the AP poll with 166 points. Arizona State is 25th with 133. Notre Dame is the first team listed in the ‘‘others receiving votes’’ category with 132.
‘‘I really feel as long as we take care of the week-to-week, we’re going to be fine when it’s all said and done,’’ Kelly said.
There are more pressing matters for Kelly, such as injuries to some key players. Offensive lineman Chris Watt (knee) and defensive lineman Sheldon Day (ankle)
are probable for Notre Dame’s game Saturday against Navy. Outside linebacker Ishaq Williams (knee) is doubtful. Nose guard
Louis Nix III (knee), who missed the game against Air Force, is questionable.
‘‘It will depend on his practices and the quality of his practices,’’ Kelly said of Nix.
‘‘When you are playing an option team, it’s really about getting out there and getting acclimated to what you are going to see.’’