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Blake Grupe drills game winning kick for the Saints

Wade-Peeryby:Wade Peery•08/13/23
Photo by Chad Weaver/Blue & Gold

Former Notre Dame kicker Blake Grupe found freon coursing through his veins on Sunday afternoon, drilling the game-winning kick for the New Orleans Saints against the Kansas City Chiefs in their preseason matchup. The Saints won the game 26-24, thanks to the 31-yard game-winner by Grupe in the closing seconds.

Check it out below.

Grupe began his college football career with the Arkansas State Red Wolves, before hitting the transfer portal and playing for the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. He was excellent on extra points, connecting on all 49 attempts last year, finishing with a career average of 97.2 percent.

Over the years, he’s been less consistent with field goals, connecting on 74.3% of those for his career. Grupe’s best season came in 2019, when he drilled 86.4% of his field goals in 2019. He also had a career long of 50 yards.

Grupe is currently battling with veteran kicker Will Lutz for the starting position for the Saints. It’ll be interesting to see if Grupe can carve out a starting role for himself in New Orleans, or elsewhere across the league.

Drilling the game-winner still has to be a special feeling for him, even if it is in the preseason.

During Notre Dame’s pro day, he nailed a 57-yarder with plenty of room to spare. He followed that up by hitting a 61-yarder. Overall, he drilled 12 of 14 field goal attempts with the pressure of dozens of NFL scouts watching nearby.

Derek Carr excited Saints’ fans during his debut on Sunday, completing six of his eight pass attempts for 70 yards and one touchdown. Starting running back Jamaal Williams churned out 28 yards on nine carries. He came to the Saints this offseason after having a career year last season with the Detroit Lions. The Saints also got a very solid performance from former Wake Forest star A.T. Perry. He hauled in six catches for 70 receiving yards and a touchdown. Perry was prolific during his time with the Demon Deacons in college, hauling in 2,662 receiving yards–ranking him third in school history in that category. He also became the only player in Wake football history to have two 1,000 yard receiving seasons.

The Saints next preseason game will be on August 20th, when they take on the LA Chargers. They’ll wrap their preseason up by facing off against the Houston Texans on August 27th. Their game with the Chargers will be on the road, whereas their game with the Texans is at home in New Orleans.