Sept. 17, 2000
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – After each game, the FANSzine evaluates the Notre Dame players each week and honors those who do not always get the attention for a job well done in the Unsung Hero of the Week honors. Kicker Nick Setta’s last-minute heroics earn him this week’s honors. With two seconds remaining, he drilled home the field goal, lifting the Irish 23-21 over the Boilermakers.
Nick Setta walked to the podium with the same ease at the postgame press conference that he approached the 38-yard line with two seconds remaining.
“Every time you go to a game, you dream about it (having the opportunity to win the game),” the sophomore said. “But it doesn’t really register because you are more clam than everyone else.”
Calm and confident are two of the best words to describe Notre Dame’s new starting kicker. Setta approaches everything from talking to the media to drilling home the game winner with the same style.
Despite having missed a 39-yard attempt in the third quarter, the coaching staff still opted to leave it all up to him.
All last season, Irish fans begged for Notre Dame head coach Bob Davie to allow Nick Setta a shot at the starting kicking position. After all, the Irish kicking game seemed to be in the midst of chaos with then-kicker Jim Sanson struggling to make what should be a routine point after attempt.
Setta came in as a highly touted recruit. His honors included the likes of Parade prep All-American, rated number one kicker in the country. In fact, Setta hit the crossbar on a 72-yard field goal attempt in high school playoff back in 1997.
Davie felt that the consistency is what held Setta off the field. While there is no doubt that Setta’s leg is the strongest, his inconsistency is what kept off him the field last year. In fact in his senior year at Lockport Township, he hit 11 field goals out of 22 attempts, which is lackluster for any kicker.
The question of Davie’s confidence in the young Setta rose again this year. In last week’s game against the Cornhuskers, Davie opted to sit on the ball at the end of regulation and force the game into overtime.
Now, the tables have reversed. Just seven days later, Davie kept the ball on the ground and pounded it straight ahead for field position. He played it conservative, let the clock tick down to two seconds and left the rest up to Setta.
“You dream about times like this,” Setta said. “You want to take advantage of it and just be positive. This is what you come here for.”
Without breaking a sweat, the young kicker went about his routine and drilled home the winner with that same air of confidence, which attracted the Notre Dame coaching staff in the first place.
With three field goals, including the game winner, Setta earns the Hero of the Week honors for his performance in the Purdue game.