Blue and Gold Illustrated

Nov. 2, 2019

Blue & Gold Illustrated: America's Foremost Authority on Notre Dame Football

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60 NOV. 2, 2019 BLUE & GOLD ILLUSTRATED BY LOU SOMOGYI D uring Notre Dame's 30-27 vic- tory versus USC Oct. 12, Fight- ing Irish junior kicker Jonathan Doerer achieved two distinc- tions while converting all three of his field goal attempts from 45, 52 and 43 yards. The first part of that uniqueness was it marked only the second time a Fight- ing Irish kicker booted three field goals in a game from at least 40 yards away. The first time occurred on Oct. 1, 1977, when senior Dave Reeve drilled his trio from 42, 40 and 51 yards during a 16-6 victory at home versus Michigan State. That averaged out to 44.3 yards. However, Reeve had four attempts in that game and missed from 35 yards out. Doerer had three attempts versus the Trojans and converted each one. Part two is that Doerer's 46.7-yard average on those makes also was the longest ever for a minimum of three in a game. Because of his clutch play in windy conditions in what became a tight game, Doerer was awarded the game ball. The past two years, Doerer was the backup for Notre Dame all-time scor- ing leader Justin Yoon, who also hap- pened to be the most accurate kicker in school history for those who attempted at least 50 field goals. However, Doer- er's inconsistency on kickoffs lost him his job to Yoon as well, and it notice- ably carried over into Doerer's place- kicking as well — until he began to balance his immense leg power with proper technique, steps and motion. It began the final two weeks of spring practice, and then carried into August. "Not a lot of kickers are my size, so it's a little more difficult to be consis- tent with your steps and movement," the 6-3 Doerer told us this spring. "By shortening [the steps] up, we've been able to find some more consistency, and that's something I'm really excited about. It keeps me from getting in my own way. "I know when I hit the ball well, I'm going to have enough leg. As long as I stay within those steps and I stay un- der control … I don't need to swing too hard. I spent a lot of time just working on my steps trying to be more con- sistent all the way around so I could just focus on hitting the ball well every single time. "That definitely made an impact. I was able to feel more and more consis- tent as time went on." Practice was fine, but it's different in clutch game situations when it is "for keeps." Against USC, Doerer de- livered. "He's done an incredible job of really building a repetition in his leg swing, that he is so confident now in what he does that he's unflappable," head coach Brian Kelly praised. "He can go into any situation and he trusts what he is doing. "… We saw the development be- cause he chose to address it. … You can blame it on a million things, and I'm not getting treated right or I'm not getting a fair shake, you're too hard on me. That was not his mindset. "His mindset is I've got to do better. I'm a better kicker than this. I'm going to find a way to make sure that I am repeating this, and I'm going to be the kind of kicker I think I should be, and all the credit goes to him." THE HISTORY The first time a Notre Dame player converted three field goals in a game was on Nov. 27, 1913, when quar- terback Gus Dorais achieved it — in seven attempts — during a 29-7 vic- tory at Texas to cap a 7-0 season under first-year head coach Jesse Harper. The archives show that the three field goals covered 15 (goal posts were not 10 yards back from the goal line), 22 and 20 yards. JUST FOR KICKS Jonathan Doerer's distance and accuracy versus USC was a unique feat in the football program's annals With field goals of 45, 52 and 43 yards in the win against USC, Doerer became only the second Irish kicker in history to kick three field goals longer than 40 yards in a game. His 46.7-yard average tops the 44.3 mark set by Dave Reeve, who went 3 of 4 in a win against Michigan State on Oct. 1, 1977. PHOTO BY ANDRIS VISOCKIS

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