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One Game at a Time

Sep 22, 2013, 6:08 PM EDT

Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Craig Chval, the official 2013 football beat writer for the Strong & True blog, is currently a junior at the University of Notre Dame. Over the course of the year Craig will bring you insight from within the student section, interviews with Fighting Irish players and previews of each game. You can follow Craig (and the rest of the Notre Dame student beat writing staff) on twitter at @JrNDBloggers.

Notre Dame is 3-1. All day today I’ve had to remind myself of that. Despite last year’s 12-1 record, it wasn’t too long ago that we started a season 1-3 or 0-5.

I mentioned last week that the Purdue win was a little too close for comfort. And while a dogfight with Michigan State’s defense was about as foreseeable as a red zone fade pass, it wasn’t any easier to watch.

When your best play is “throw the ball up and get a pass interference call,” it’s hard to keep perspective of recent history. But last year’s squad was the poster child for winning ugly, and it didn’t matter how close the score was. With every close win, we were one step closer to playing for the national championship. On Friday we were 2-1, and today we’re 3-1.

I know plenty of people who are able to enter this mindset quite easily, and I’m envious. Games don’t exist in a vacuum, and an ugly win could speak volumes about the direction of the season.

But it might not. Purdue lost seven games last year, and the Irish squeaked out a win over them the second week of the season. Of course, they went on to win their next 10 games. If you had asked me that day how many games Notre Dame would win, it definitely wouldn’t have been 12.

A week later I drove up to East Lansing to watch the Irish play 10th-ranked Michigan State. Honestly, I was not really interested in going that far to see a loss. When I finally decided to go, I told my dad, who just texted, “Probably good. What though the odds and all that.”

The difference in play between Purdue and Michigan State was enormous, and this year’s squad is capable of such growth. So far the Irish have played four games, and they all have shown cause for concern. Obviously 12-0 is an impossibility, but this team still has the time to find itself. There’s no question that they have the talent to be successful.

Instead of worrying about the next game or the rest of the season, maybe I should follow the old cliché and take it one game at a time. It worked pretty well last year.

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