Anyway you look at it, Notre Dame football is 3-0. It took three different ways to win all three games, but against Vanderbilt, it was Tyler Newsome who came up huge.
After Week 3, the Irish remain No. 8 in the AP poll and are undefeated. With another game ending in a closer-than-expected result, Notre Dame football is grateful to be where it’s at, but is now left looking for consistency.
While head coach Brian Kelly is looking for consistency from his offense, there are two things that have been nothing but consistent for the Irish this season: Notre Dame’s ability to grind it out and Tyler Newsome being a playmaker.
Yes — the punter is going to get his respect today.
Newsome was a dominant player against Vanderbilt. He was able to make a difference multiple times on Saturday.
The major difference Notre Dame wants to see out of the offense is turn some field goals into touchdowns. With the Irish not committing any turnovers, five drives resulted in punts.
As Newsome came in for those five punts, he crushed them with three punts over 60 yards. His numbers were impressive: 63, 62, 53, 57 and 63 yards.
After the first two drives for Notre Dame, the offense hit a wall. Two quick three and outs were overlooked because of Newsome’s strong leg.
The punter was not only able to bail out the offense when needed; he set up the defense as well. Four of his five punts forced Vanderbilt to try to go the majority of the field.
With only five seconds to go, Newsome’s last punt was the game changer.
His 63-yard punt pinned Vanderbilt on their its own ten-yard line. Taking away the opportunity of a Hail Mary, Newsome left Vanderbilt with only the hook and ladder as an option.
The punter averaged 59.6 yards per punt and changed the game, making him the this week’s unsung hero.