SOUTH BEND — They don’t ask “how,” they ask “if.” No matter how Notre Dame has looked at times this year, the Irish are 7-0 heading into the team’s bye week.

This makes head coach Brian Kelly a very happy man.

“I’m super excited. We’re 7-0 with a very difficult schedule. Beat three top-25 teams at the time. I’m really proud of our football team in terms of where we are,” Kelly said. “If you had asked me if I’d be 7-0 at the bye week, I’d be extremely pleased and happy, and I’m certainly that as I sit here right now.”

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They’re also No. 4 in the newest Associated Press poll following a week where four top-10 teams lost.

Notre Dame was almost one of those top-10 teams to go down, as a touchdown pass from Ian Book to Miles Boykin with 5:43 left in the game finished off a 19-14 comeback victory over Pittsburgh. The Irish trailed the majority of the game, but still found a way to keep their undefeated season alive.

It was the third home game of the year where Notre Dame struggled with a lesser opponent. They won by eight over Ball State (3-4) and just five points over Vanderbilt (3-4). Those narrow victories led to quarterback Brandon Wimbush being benched in favor of Book.

Despite the benching, Wimbush has been there to help Book and the Notre Dame offense.

“I’m really pleased. He’s right next to (Book) every time Book comes off the field,” Kelly said. “The way he’s gone to work every day has helped our football team in so many ways in terms of attitude and morale. It’s a positive situation for us.”