Blue and Gold Illustrated

Nov. 2, 2015 Issue

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

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win versus Navy Oct. 10. "What my thought was is I can't build on the past, and I just have to go forward with the next one," Yoon said of the early extra point snafus. "Our motto is get rid of the last one and get to the next one — and the same with the 52-yarder. "It's great that I made it, but the next field goal, that's another oppor- tunity I have to make one. If I would have kept on dwelling about the past, I don't think I would have made that. "Clemson was a confidence booster. I was able to learn my way through it, but also experience that I have to trust everyone." Part of his kicking ritual includes a traditional Oriental bow with senior long snapper Scott Daly and sopho- more holder and starting quarterback DeShone Kizer after a make. "A big part of the team is you have to be able to have fun with every- thing," Yoon said. "At the same time, be serious and focus. After a focused, good kick through the uprights, we just love having that fun part. I want to make sure we continue that streak going on." Yoon also is appreciating how to balance nerves with composure. "When I'm in front of a lot of people I start to get nervous," Yoon admitted. "But on the field, it feels like I'm in my own bubble, just me, football and my guys. That's where I think all that focus comes from." Enrolling at an elite academic in- stitution — he was also interested in Stanford and Northwestern, while the Ivy League schools also came calling — Yoon said his biggest chal- lenge on and off the field was trying Freshman Footholds Justin Yoon is the seventh true freshman to start at kicker for Notre Dame since the NCAA permitted freshman eligibility in 1972. Here is the chronological order and how they fared. Dave Reeve (1974) — The first Notre Dame player awarded a scholarship strictly as a kicker, the four- year starter converted 7 of 10 field goals and 39 of 42 extra points on head coach Ara Parseghian's final Fighting Irish team. Craig Hentrich (1989) — The 16-year NFL veteran, mainly as a punter, converted 8 of 15 field goals and 44 of 45 extra points for the 12-1 Irish. Kevin Kopka (1995) — Nicknamed "Thunderfoot," the Florida native started the first eight games and converted 6 of 11 field goals and 27 of 29 extra points before walk-on Scott Cengia finished the season. Jim Sanson (1996) — His peak was a 39-yard field goal as time ran out in a 27-24 win at Texas, and the valley was a missed point after in the finale at USC that enabled the Trojans to rally and then win in overtime. Sanson finished 6 of 9 on field goals and 39 of 45 on extra points. Brandon Walker (2007) — During a 3-9 season, he made 6 of 12 field goals, highlighted by a 48-yarder in the 20-6 win at UCLA, and 22 of 23 extra points. Nick Tausch (2009) — He missed his first field goal (a loss at Michigan) before making a then-school- record 14 straight, highlighted by a school-record 5-of-5 effort in the 37-30 overtime win versus Washing- ton. Then his last two were both misses in a 23-21 loss to Navy in which he also was injured. He finished 14 of 17 on field goals and 27 of 30 on extra points. — Lou Somogyi

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