Cierre Wood didn’t start Saturday’s game against Michigan State.
But he helped finish it.
Wood, returning from a two-game suspension, had a modest 56 yards on 10 carries in the Irish’s 20-3 win over the No. 10 Spartans — but 45 of them came on the clock-killing, game-icing, 84-yard drive in the fourth quarter that started at the Notre Dame 4 and ended with a 29-yard Kyle Brindza field goal and a 17-3 lead.
Wood had lost his starting role to Theo Riddick after his suspension for unspecified rules violations. But he knew he’d still play a big role in the Irish offense.
“I believe in my team, I believe in my coaches,” Wood said. “I knew they were going to be me in the right positions, as they did. They trusted me down the stretch, and as our motto says, ‘You can count on me.'”
Wood said that he and Riddick talked to the offensive line before the long fourth-quarter drive, asking them to “just give us a couple seconds” so they could put together a long drive and drive a stake through MSU’s heart.
“That’s what good teams do, and that’s what we did,” Wood said.
Wood said it was “just another win” for the players. But for him, it was great to simply “be out there with my bros” after a tough two weeks.
“It was hard for me, not playing, seeing my teammates out there,” he said. “At the same time, I was happy for my teammates, cheering them, doing what a great teammate’s supposed to do. And I was just waiting for my time to come back. When I came back, I promised myself and I promised my teammates I would make a statement. And that’s exactly what I did.”