Irish can count on kicker Kyle Brindza
By LaMond Pope firstname.lastname@example.org or 713-2691 October 8, 2013 11:50PM
Notre Dame's Kyle Brindza (27) kicks a field goal with teammate Luke Massa (14) holding during the second half of an NCAA college football game against Arizona State on Saturday, Oct. 5, 2013, in Arlington, Texas. Notre Dame won 37-34. (AP Photo/LM Otero)
SOUTH BEND — Kyle Brindza lined up for a 25-yard field goal in the fourth quarter of Saturday’s game against Arizona State.
The contest was tied at 27 and there was 3:03 remaining in the game.
“What was going through my mind is ‘I’ve done it 1,000 times, just do it again,” the Notre Dame kicker/punter said Tuesday.
Brindza did just that, nailing the go-ahead field goal to put the Irish ahead. Notre Dame led the rest of the way, defeating the Sun Devils 37-34.
“I wasn’t really over-excited or over-anxious or nervous,” Brindza said. “It was, ‘you’ve done this, so why can’t you do it again? Just go out there, focus on your ordinary basics in kicking and just knock it down.’ ”
Brindza went 3-for-4 on field goals at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. He also punted twice for an average of 50.5 yards.
Brindza tied a school record for the longest made field goal, connecting from 53 yards in the third quarter. He made two field goals in the fourth quarter, one from 33 yards and then the 25-yarder.
“We feel like he started us off well with the 53-yarder,” Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly said after the game. “He’s that kind of player for us. We can really rely on him.”
Brindza matched Dave Reeve’s mark with the 53-yarder. Reeve made his kick in 1976 against Pittsburgh.
“I’ve attempted field goals like that in high school. It’s a good feeling for coach Kelly to be able to trust me in a situation like that,” Brindza said. “I barely snuck it in. We kind of tried to hurry it up because the clock was running down. I wish I would have gotten a little more leg on it, I know I could have, but it’s really good to know that the coach relies on you to be able to help out the team in a way like that with a big field goal.
“… It’s not a little chip shot. You are either in pooch (punt) situation or a field goal. For him to call you out for a field goal gives confidence to a kicker. That really boosted my confidence a little bit more.”
Brindza is 8-for-11 on field goals this year. He’s also averaging 41.5 yards on per punt. Brindza has punted 21 times in 2013.
He said Notre Dame’s bye is coming at a great time.
“Halfway through the season, you definitely need a bye week, especially for a kicker/punter,” Brindza said. “I don’t really take as many reps as other kickers and punters do just to make sure I’m not leg-weary.
“It’s very good for me right now because I can take a little break off, go after another four games, take a little break off again (in Notre Dame’s second bye). I’m just focused on not having any lingering issues with my leg later on, which is what I’m focusing on this bye week.”