Irish must play after loss for the first time in nearly two years

The Notre Dame football team now has to do something it hasn't done in nearly two years: Prepare for a game immediately following a loss.

The Irish have not done so since losing to USC in October of 2011.

ND lost the regular season finale that year and a bowl game, but didn't have to play a week later. Same goes for after the BCS National Championship loss in January.

So in many ways, this is actually new territory for the Irish after a 41-30 loss to Michigan Saturday night in Ann Arbor in the 2nd game of the 2013 regular season. The Irish return to work on Monday to right the ship as they prepare to do battle at Purdue Saturday night.

"Some of these guys--the freshmen and sophomores--have never been a part of a [regular season] loss," senior captain Zack Martin explains. "It's up to the older guys to show how we have to come back and work even harder."

"It's a stepping stone," adds fellow captain TJ Jones. "I think for a lot of people, it's a wake up call and it's a way for us to start that drive back to the top."

Make no mistake, the Irish feel confident they can re-group immediately.

"Absolutely," Irish quarterback Tommy Rees says. "I have all the confidence in the world in the guys in this locker room and the coaches. We have a strong nucleus, strong character and we'll definitely bounce back, have a great week and get ready to play next weekend."

So how do the Irish get to that point.

Brian Kelly's message to his team was being by smarter and being more disciplined. That's the goal, the objective for #21 Notre Dame as it prepares to face Purdue next Saturday.

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