SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) — Coach Brian Kelly was ready to make a change even before starter Evertt Golson hurt his thumb. Tommy Rees was going to be Notre Dame's quarterback for a final-two minute drive in a tie game.
"The knowledge of running our two-minute trumped any kind of injury that he (Golson) may have had," Kelly said Sunday. "Now, it (the injury) contributed in the end to make it an easier decision for me."
Rees returned from a one-game suspension and led the Irish downfield, a drive capped by Kyle Brindza's 27-yard field goal with 7 seconds left that produced a 20-17 win over Purdue on Saturday and a 2-0 start.
Golson, who'd injured his thumb while fumbling on a play that set up Purdue's tying TD, wanted to stay in the game. The injury wasn't debilitating but he was having trouble gripping the ball.
"I think anybody that gets taken out of the game is going to react in a manner that he wants to play; and if they don't, I don't want him to be our quarterback," Kelly said Sunday."I know Everett wanted to be in the game and that's a good thing. But he's been supported by Tommy and Andrew (Hendrix) and now it was his chance to support Tommy in that situation."
Rees and Golson were not made available to reporters after the game, even though Rees gave a short TV interview on the field after the game.
Kelly made one thing clear Saturday: Golson is still the starter as the No. 22 Irish head into Saturday's game at Michigan State.
The Irish had to use some timeouts when the play clock was close to expiring and Golson was sacked five times, but he did complete 21 of 31 for 289 yards and a TD.
Using a baseball analogy, Kelly said he wants his starters to finish the game but sometimes it's necessary to bring in a reliever such as Rees, who started 12 games last season. His status was put in jeopardy after he was arrested following a skirmish with police after a party in May.
So is Rees now the Irish's designated reliever?
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