Brian Kelly set for 100th game as Notre Dame coach
Notre Dame football has won seven straight games, and will look to continue that streak on the road against the Miami Hurricanes. However, this weekend's game also serves as a big milestone for Brian Kelly.
Kelly will take the sideline on Saturday for his 100th game as Notre Dame's head coach.
Kelly is 67-32 leading the Irish as he nears the end of his eighth season, and said Tuesday he wishes there were a few more in the win column.
"I'm honored to have gotten the opportunity to coach a hundred games," he said. "I never thought in my wildest dreams that I would ever get a chance to coach one game at Notre Dame. So to think of a hundred, I can't even wrap my arms around that ... I would have liked to have won even more games for our fans and for our players."
He becomes just the fifth coach in program history to reach that mark, joining Knute Rockne, Frank Leahy, Ara Parseghian, and Lou Holtz. However, Kelly said he still knows there is a big job to do against the Hurricanes in a top-10 matchup, which makes it tough to put his career in perspective.
"I try not to think in those terms," he said, "but my focus is on beating Miami and that's what we're hoping for one hundred."
It will be a tough one, however, as the Irish meet Miami on the road with championship implications on the line as usual.
The Hurricanes are undefeated and ranked in the Top-10 in each poll, making this the third game of the year in which Notre Dame has entered a Top-15 matchup.
"[Miami is a] really good football team across the board: offense, defense, special teams," said Kelly. "But it's not just about talent. It's well-coached. [Head coach] Mark Richt has done a terrific job of coaching a group of young men with great athletic traits. This football team that we play no doubt will require our very best."
The Irish will be near full strength, though, as Kelly said neither Heisman candidate running back Josh Adams or quarterback Brandon Wimbush should be limited in their action this week. Tight end Alize Mack (concussion) and wide receiver Cam Smith (hamstring) returned to practice on Tuesday. That health status serves as a big point of relief for a team that needs every win going forward.
"I know our guys are excited about this championship drive that they are on now," said Kelly. "This part of the season, obviously in November, all of the teams that are in contention are focused on one game at a time, and it's single elimination for most teams."
The latest College Football Playoff rankings were released Tuesday night. Notre Dame remained third, while Miami was ranked seventh.
Kickoff is set for just after 8 p.m. on Saturday night.