Perhaps the main reason Notre Dame avoided a losing streak on Saturday was the excellent play from its special teams.

Notre Dame defeated UNLV 44-21 to improve to 4-3 on the season. Defensive lineman Isaiah Foskey was superb for the special teams unit, blocking 2 punts that resulted in 10 points for Notre Dame.

Notre Dame coach Marcus Freeman praised the special teams and special teams coach Brian Mason for the performance.

“(Special teams) Coach (Brian Mason) has done a great job with all of our phases of special teams,” Freeman said, via Irish Breakdown. “Every week we’ve been an aggressive punt block unit, and we’ve gotten two before this game. We just got home. It wasn’t that, hey, they had something in particular that we’re going to exploit. Every week we feel like we can take advantage of a punt team, and Coach Mason does a great job of executing the game plan.“

After UNLV trimmed the deficit to 20-7, Foskey blocked a punt from Marshall Nichols and linebacker Jordan Botelho scooped up the ball at the UNLV 20-yard line. Drew Pyne then connected on a 20-yard TD pass to Mike Mayer a couple plays after.

After UNLV had a three-and-out, Foskey blocked another punt by Houston Griffith that was fielded at the UNLV 14-yard line. That set up Notre Dame to score on a 27-yard field goal from Blake Grupe.

Freeman emphasized how the momentum of games gets altered with timely special teams plays.

“Today we were able to get two and those are game changers,” Freeman said via Irish Breakdown. “Those are momentum shifts, to be able to capitalize off them and get points. I don’t think both times got a touchdown, but to get points, it’s huge. It’s huge. And last week we didn’t. That’s part of making sure that we’re able to execute. Those are huge.”