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Notre Dame Football

Notre Dame WR Kevin Austin Jr. Bounces Back in Big Way

September 28, 2021

The Purdue game didn't go as Kevin Austin Jr. planned. 

Austin failed to record a reception on eight targets, but the senior receiver didn't pout. He went to work. 

"I needed to bounce back this week," Austin stated. "I trained really hard to get to where I wanted to be before Saturday." 

The work paid off for Austin as the Florida native caught six balls for 76 yards and two scores in the 41-13 win over Wisconsin. 

Austin's first score came on a 36-yard dart from Jack Coan and there was some hesitation on if it was a catch as the ball squirted out when he hit the ground. 

"I was sure I caught the ball and secured the catch," explained Austin. "Going to the ground, I wasn't sure they were going to call him for stripping the ball out. I looked up at the ref and saw he had his hands up, so I knew it was a touchdown." 

Quarterback Drew Pyne then connected with Austin from 16 yards out to put the game away in the fourth quarter. 

"I'm always trying to be the guy to go in and make plays happen," stated Austin. "With the quarterback situation and having Drew in and not Jack, it was the same type of conversation. Drew trusts his throws, trusts me and all the receivers on the team that we're going to come down with the ball." 

That trust has developed over the last year, but Pyne also went out of his way by flying Austin, Braden Lenzy and Joe Wilkins Jr. out to the Northeast this summer to get in extra work. 

"Drew doesn't miss a beat," Austin said. "We have that next man up mentality and that's the motivation for him to go into that moment and step in." 

Austin's two scores also allowed for head coach Brian Kelly to get his 106th win at Notre Dame, which moved him to the top spot in all-time wins in the blue and gold. 

"It wasn't something we preached, but it was something we knew in the back of our heads," Austin explained. "We went into this game knowing what it could mean, it was a big accomplishment, especially for Coach Kelly and our team being able to do that for him." 

As for Austin, Saturday was another step in the right direction. 

The 6-foot-2, 215-pounder has gone through ups and downs over the last two years and the Wisconsin game served as another step in his maturation process as he didn't let a bad game impact him the following week. 

"The ultimate goal is helping my team win and being able to be part of that," said Austin. "Being able to do that Saturday was a big step forward for myself and the team. I feel great being out there and competing with all my brothers." 

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