'Clutch' Brindza helping Irish stay afloat late in games

'Clutch' Brindza helping Irish stay afloat late in games
October 8, 2013, 9:15 pm

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- Kyle Brindza has attempted 12 fourth quarter field goals in his career, and has drilled 11 of them.

For a Notre Dame offense that's continued to struggle with red zone efficiency, Brindza's late-game success is a nice safety net to have. 

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"I would say he's a pretty clutch guy in the fourth quarter," coach Brian Kelly said Saturday. "… He just has that feeling that he's a clutch player for us, and he has been since he's been here."

Brindza connected from 33 and 25 yards in the final 15 minutes Saturday against Arizona State, netting Notre Dame six critical points in a 37-34 victory. Since taking over placekicking duties in Week 2 of the 2012 season, Brindza's only fourth quarter miss came this year against Temple -- and that was in a low-pressure situation, and was a miss Kelly blamed on a bad hold. 

"People will say that I'm clutch, but it's really just me doing the ordinary basic things," Brindza said. "Whenever my team needs me and calls on my number, I'll give it right back to you guys.""

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Notre Dame ranks 99th among FBS offenses in red zone touchdown percentage, finding the end zone 10 times in 19 trips inside the 20. Last year, the Irish were 112th among FBS teams with a 48.3 red zone touchdown rate.

While Notre Dame coaches would obviously like to be better in those categories, having Brindza at their disposal is about as good a secondary option as any team has.