SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- There's no guarantee fans will get to see games like Stephon Tuitt had Saturday against USC next year, even after the defensive end told the Notre Dame student newspaper Wednesday he was going to return for his senior season.
After Tuitt's two-sack showing in Notre Dame's 14-10 win over USC, he aimed to put to rest the notion that he had decided on his future after this current season.
"What I said the other night, I wasn't really thinking," Tuitt said. "I was just thinking about the (USC) game. At the end of the day, when the end of the season comes, whatever predicament I'm in I'm going to talk to coach Kelly, my mom, my family and see what the best decision will be then."
What Tuitt said to The Observer was this: "I'm coming back next year."
But the best way for him to put that mixup behind him: Play well against USC. Tuitt did just that, recording two tackles for a loss and two quarterback hits in addition to his pair of sacks.
"They couldn't handle him today," coach Brian Kelly said. "If you're wanting to talk about a defensive lineman that was dominating, you could throw that word out there. He was a force out there today."
Tuitt earned the game ball for his work spearheading Notre Dame's strong defensive effort. After a slow start to the season, Tuitt's back to his usual disruptive self, terrorizing opposing quarterbacks and offensive lines.
The will-he-or-won't-he question will linger over the next five or six games, and escaping it won't be easy. But for Tuitt, games like he's had against Arizona State and USC go a long way toward him dictating his own narrative.