Doerer makes late FG, No. 14 Irish beat Hokies 32-29

Notre_Dame_Virginia_Tech_Football_35234 Virginia Tech quarterback Braxton Burmeister (3) is tackled by Notre Dame cornerback Cam Hart, right, during the first half of an NCAA college football game in Blacksburg, Va., Saturday, Oct. 9, 2021.
Notre_Dame_Virginia_Tech_Football_32776 Notre Dame quarterback Tyler Buchner (12) scores a touchdown past Virginia Tech defensive back Chamarri Conner (1) during the first half of an NCAA college football game in Blacksburg, Va., Saturday, Oct. 9, 2021.
Notre_Dame_Virginia_Tech_Football_61812 Virginia Tech running back Raheem Blackshear (5) celebrates after scoring a touchdown against Notre Dame during the first half of an NCAA college football game in Blacksburg, Va., Saturday, Oct. 9, 2021.
Notre_Dame_Virginia_Tech_Football_06933 Virginia Tech quarterback Braxton Burmeister (3 ) passes the ball against Notre Dame during the first half of an NCAA college football game in Blacksburg, Va., Saturday, Oct. 9, 2021.
Notre_Dame_Virginia_Tech_Football_81731 Virginia Tech running back Raheem Blackshear (5) celebrates after scoring a touchdown against Notre Dame during the first half of an NCAA college football game in Blacksburg, Va., Saturday, Oct. 9, 2021.
Notre_Dame_Virginia_Tech_Football_30710 Virginia Tech safety Tae Daley (17) tackles Notre Dame wide receiver Avery Davis, right, during the first half of an NCAA college football game in Blacksburg, Va., Saturday, Oct. 9, 2021.
Notre_Dame_Virginia_Tech_Football_06810 Notre Dame running back Kyren Williams (23) attempts to elude Virginia Tech defensive lineman Amare Barno (11) during the second half of an NCAA college football game in Blacksburg, Va., Saturday, Oct. 9, 2021.
Notre_Dame_Virginia_Tech_Football_83880 Notre Dame wide receiver Kevin Austin Jr. (4) catches a two-point conversion pass in front of Virginia Tech defensive back Nasir Peoples (31) during the second half of an NCAA college football game in Blacksburg, Va., Saturday, Oct. 9, 2021.
Notre_Dame_Virginia_Tech_Football_30770 Notre Dame quarterback Tyler Buchner (12) runs the ball during the second half of an NCAA college football game against Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Va., Saturday, Oct. 9, 2021.
Notre_Dame_Virginia_Tech_Football_29356 Notre Dame running back Kyren Williams (23) and wide receiver Braden Lenzy (0) celebrate a touchdown during the second half of an NCAA college football game against Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Va., Saturday, Oct. 9, 2021.
Notre_Dame_Virginia_Tech_Football_44738 Virginia Tech head coach Justin Fuente watches from the sideline during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Notre Dame in Blacksburg, Va., Saturday, Oct. 9, 2021.
Notre_Dame_Virginia_Tech_Football_23499 Virginia Tech wide receiver Tre Turner (11) attempts to catch a pass during the second half of an NCAA college football game against Notre Dame in Blacksburg, Va., Saturday, Oct. 9, 2021.
Notre_Dame_Virginia_Tech_Football_87799 Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly, left, talks with quarterback Tyler Buchner (12) during the second half of an NCAA college football game against Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Va., Saturday, Oct. 9, 2021.
Notre_Dame_Virginia_Tech_Football_94012 Virginia Tech quarterback Braxton Burmeister (3) runs for a touchdown during the second half of an NCAA college football game against Notre Dame in Blacksburg, Va., Saturday, Oct. 9, 2021.
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BLACKSBURG, Va. (AP) — Jack Coan’s play in the first quarter for No. 14 Notre Dame on Saturday night got him benched. What he did in the fourth quarter made the Fighting Irish winners, and left coach Brian Kelly gushing about his senior quarterback.

Jonathan Doerer kicked a 48-yard field goal with 17 seconds remaining, capping a dramatic rally to give the Fighting Irish a 32-29 victory over Virginia Tech.

“I’ve been in a lot of games, coached in a lot of games, but I don’t know that I’ve ever coached a group of guys that had such resolve and mental toughness, that regardless of the situation, they just kept playing,” Kelly said. “Unfazed by the circumstances.”

The Fighting Irish (5-1) tied it at 29 on Coan’s 4-yard pass to Avery Davis and a two-point conversion completion to Kevin Austin with 2:26 left. After Notre Dame forced the Hokies to punt, Coan drove them 45 yards in seven plays, and Doerer split the uprights, sparing the Fighting Irish a second straight loss.

Coan “prepared himself mentally to go back in the game and lead two drives,” Kelly said. “You guys should be thinking about great things to write about that guy because that doesn’t happen very often.”

Kelly knew there were things his team didn’t do well against the Hokies, but said he’ll brush off any negatives written because of how it finished.

“What I take from these games is watching a guy like Jack Coan come in under those circumstances and rise above it. It was just, for me, incredibly enjoyable to watch him play,” Kelly said.

The Hokies (3-2) had taken command with an interception return for a touchdown by Jermaine Waller late in the third quarter and another touchdown drive started by an Nasir People’s interception. That drive finished 19-yard run by Braxton Burmeister with 3:55 to play, making it 29-21.

“Obviously, that’s a tough locker room. What a football game,” Hokies coach Justin Fuente said. “It’s a tough one, obviously, to swallow.”

Freshman Tyler Buchner ran for a touchdown and threw for another for Notre Dame (4-2) after replacing Coan to start the second quarter, but his two second half interceptions both turned into Virginia Tech touchdowns.

Kyren Williams ran for 81 yards and one touchdown and caught an 8-yard pass from Buchner for another score the Irish.

Raheem Blackshear also ran for a touchdown for the Hokies and John Parker Romo kicked three field goals.

THE TAKEAWAY

Notre Dame: Buchner likely earned himself more playing time among the three QBs the Irish have used this season. Notre Dame ran 13 plays and managed just 27 yards with Coan behind center in the first quarter. Buchner led a 75-yard touchdown drive in is first series in the second quarter.

“He did some nice things like you saw, he’s young. He’s going to be really good,” Kelly said.

Virginia Tech: Connor Blumrick replaced Burmeister in the fourth quarter after Burmeister appeared to hurt his throwing hand late in the third quarter. Burmeister was able to throw on the sideline. Blumrick’s second pass attempt was intercepted when the Hokies tried for a two-point conversion. Blumrick later got hurt on a running play and Burmeister returned to the game.

UP NEXT

The Fighting Irish have a week of before facing Southern California in South Bend.

The Hokies face Pittsburgh in their third of four straight home games.

___

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