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Matt Krueger: Finally a part of an Irish win

Heather VanHoegarden | Thursday, November 13, 2003

Matt Krueger had dreams of being part of a Notre Dame victory, but it was as a quarterback. But against Navy his goal was realized, as he was the holder in the game-winning field goal by D.J. Fitzpatrick.Krueger, a walk-on and the scout team quarterback, won the job as backup holder this year, and when Nicholas Setta went down with a leg injury against Pittsburgh, Krueger was summoned to hold for Fitzpatrick, his former teammate at Mishawaka’s Marian High School.The duo from Marian was responsible for two field goals and an extra point in their first appearance of the season, and have been successful since.”I knew him all through high school and it’s a big trust factor,” Fitzpatrick said. “I trust him so much and that makes it so much easier in some ways.”But their role at Notre Dame has been much different than their careers at Marian, where Krueger was an all-state quarterback and played safety while Fitzpatrick was an all-state defensive back.”This is a smaller job [than playing in the secondary together] but it is so much more important, and it takes a lot more trust,” Fitzpatrick said.But coming to Notre Dame, Krueger didn’t think he would be where he is today.”I was pretty cocky coming out of high school, and I figured I would come in here and be playing by my sophomore year,” he said. “But as the years went on, I understood what my roles were.”Krueger has been a crucial part of the Irish behind the scenes, as he has been the scout team quarterback for four years. He has been responsible for learning and practicing opponents’ offenses against the first string defense. Krueger has embraced this role.”It’s one of those things, where every week there is something new, a new challenge, and it’s one of those things where you rise to the challenge and help the defense out,” Krueger said. “It’s a lot of fun.” For Krueger, it was never a tough choice to come to Notre Dame, even as a walk-on.”I always loved Notre Dame growing up, and it just felt right,” Krueger said. “It was a great opportunity.”Krueger followed in the footsteps of his brother Ryan, who was a walk-on quarterback for the Irish from 1998-2001, and his dad, who was also a Notre Dame graduate. For him, getting onto the field and being able to hold for Fitzpatrick has been an invaluable experience.”It’s great, not only was my first time on the field this year, but to be able to share something like that with D.J., who I played with in high school, is extra special, not only for people at Marian, but for my coach and my parents,” Krueger said.But now that the two have been reunited, Krueger’s graduation will find Fitzpatrick searching for another holder that he can trust as much as his friend from high school.”Losing someone you trust like that, it’s going to hurt, but it is just time for the next guy to step up and for a new relationship to build,” Fitzpatrick said.And, through it all, Matt Krueger knows that he made the right choice to come to Notre Dame, after moving to South Bend right before high school.”When I take a step back and look at everything, you can’t go wrong at Notre Dame – great academics and playing for one of the best football programs in the country is just an experience that is just unbelievable,” Krueger said. “I love the game of football, and even if I didn’t make it on the field, just coming out here everyday and giving my all and helping out the team is one of those things I take a lot of pride in – it has been worth it.”