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Notre Dame's Kelly: USA Today writer needs new job

Few programs, if any, anywhere in college football can match the championship pedigree of Notre Dame, let alone the lineage of great Fighting Irish quarterbacks.

None has more career wins than No. 2 Notre Dame's current signal-caller, Ian Book. Book on Friday moved to an astounding 29-3 as the Irish starter in a 31-17 win at No. 19 North Carolina.

He broke a second-place tie with Notre Dame legends Tony Rice and Rick Mirer and wedged into a four-way lead atop the history books alongside Tom Clements, Ron Powlus and Brady Quinn.

But Irish coach Brian Kelly cannot figure out how Book has continued to be overlooked nationally, according the Kelly, despite a career winning percentage of 90.6 that's second only to Clemson's Trevor Lawrence (96.9%) among active quarterbacks.

Kelly didn't hold back on a national story that ranked college football's top 10 quarterbacks and made zero mention of the record-setting Book.

“I read an article in USA Today from some guy that really shouldn't be writing articles about football,” Kelly said. “He should probably be doing something else. They listed the top 10 quarterbacks in college football; they didn't even list Ian.

“So, he's got a little fuel. He's got a little chip on his shoulder as well. He won the matchup tonight.”

The "matchup" Kelly referred to was that of Book against UNC quarterback Sam Howell, who was on the list and has been touted as a future NFL Draft pick.

After Book pushed his current streak to 228 passes without an interception and threw his 69th career touchdown in this win at North Carolina, Book admitted that he had not discussed the USA Today story with Kelly but had let it be the source of conversation with offensive coordinator and former Irish quarterback Tommy Rees.

“No he didn't show me; I actually talked about it with Coach Rees though,” Book said. “Just let it fuel the fire. Chip on my shoulder; had a chip on my shoulder in high school in the recruiting process. Got a chip on my shoulder here.

“Look, I don't know who's writing those. Have they played football or not? Not sure. There's a ton of articles out there that say a lot of bad things about Notre Dame. But, again, it doesn't really matter who's ranking at the end of the day. I'm having fun out here playing college football. It's a dream come true; I feel fortunate to be here.”

A two-time captain making a bid to again lead Notre Dame to the College Football Playoffs for the second time in three years, Book then pointed to the team's success.

“We're 9-0. So, I've got nothing for whoever wrote that,” Book said. “But, it's motivating. Shoot, I think I'm top-10 and want to be; want to compete every day to be like that. So, at the end of the day, it's just fuel to the fire.”