Notebook: Battling pain, Notre Dame kicker Justin Yoon stings Miami

Eric Hansen
South Bend Tribune

SOUTH BEND —No pain, no gain?

Notre Dame kicker Justin Yoon seems to be at his best this season when dealing it.

The sophomore nailed all three of his field goal tries Saturday, including the game-winner from 23 yards out with 30 seconds left in ND’s 30-27 victory over Miami (Fla.) — all while battling what Irish coach Brian Kelly terms as tendinitis.

Kelly even pulled Yoon from kickoff duty for a while on Saturday, with walk-on John Chereson getting to kick off three times against the Hurricanes.

“We want to be careful with him, stretching him out on kickoffs all the time.” Kelly said of Yoon. “His workload picked up incrementally this year with kickoffs — and his PATs and field goals.

“Chereson's done a really nice job, so we wanted to give him some kicks and really take some of the load off of Justin.”

After starting the year a modest 4-of-7 on field goal tries, Yoon has converted his last five, including attempts of 37, 26 and 23 yards on Saturday.

At a loss

Notre Dame’s 12 tackles for loss Saturday were the most in a game since garnering 12 against Syracuse in 2005.

Senior Jarron Jones led the way with six, which are the most by an FBS player this season. It’s also the most by an Irish player since at least 1997, the first season of the post-Lou Holtz Era.

Bowling for attention

Scouts from three bowls attended Saturday’s game — Pinstripe, Peach and Russell Athletic.

Should the Irish become bowl eligible at 6-6 or better, their most likely landing spots would be the TaxSlayer, Belk, Pinstripe or Sun bowls.

Pros and cons

Eleven NFL teams had reps at the game, with the Chicago Bears sending four — general manager Ryan Pace, director of pro scouting Anthony Kelly, director of player personnel Josh Lucas and area scout Sam Summerville.

The other 10 teams with a presence at Notre Dame Stadium were the Giants, Steelers, Browns, Broncos, Raiders, Chiefs, Cardinals, Lions, Panthers and Chargers.

Squibs

• Right offensive guard Colin McGovern, nose guard Daniel Cage and linebacker Greer Martini all left the game with concussion symptoms.

• Notre Dame won the rushing battle, 149-18, which makes coach Brian Kelly 42-6 at ND when his team outrushes the opponents and 180-27-1 in his career.

• The Irish have won all three games they’ve won the rushing battle this season and lost all five when they haven’t.

ehansen@ndinsider.com

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Twitter: @EHansenNDI

Notre Dame’s Justin Yoon (19) walks off the field after winning the Miami at Notre Dame NCAA college football game Saturday Oct. 29, 2016, inside Notre Dame Stadium in South Bend. Tribune Photo/MICHAEL CATERINA