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Kyle Shurmur Shines at Notre Dame

By BJ Bennett
SouthernPigskin.com
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One season after setting a program record and finishing second in the SEC with 26 passing touchdowns, Kyle Shurmur is still improving and impressing.

Even in a losing effort, Kyle Shurmur showed off his ability on the national stage on Saturday. The Vanderbilt quarterback made countless big throws on the road at 8th-ranked Notre Dame, leading the Commodores, who had a potential game-winning drive go well into home territory in the game's final minutes, in a thrilling contest with the highly-touted Fighting Irish. Stepping into the spotlight with the perhaps the most storied program in college football history, Shurmur was arguably the best player on the field.

Shurmur completed 26-of-43 passes for 326 yards, one touchdown and an interception at Notre Dame. He became the first passer since Southern Cal star Cody Kessler in 2015 to pass for at least 300 yards and average over 7.5 yards per attempt against the Fighting Irish. Shurmur moved into third on the Vanderbilt career passing list with his showing.

An impressive performance in South Bend was simply the next step in Shurmur's notable progression. Three games into the season, he is completing over 64% of his passes for 754 yards, five scores and just one pick. Add in last year's finale, a 42-24 triumph at rival Tennessee, and Shurmur has nine touchdowns and one interception over his last four games. The son of New York Giants head coach Pat Shurmur, Kyle, as a clear NFL prospect, continues to make a name for himself. 

The final throw of the game, for Shurmur, was a beautiful one. On 4th down at the Notre Dame 31-yard line, he lofted a downfield toss to star receiver Kalija Lipscomb, a well-placed pass he high-pointed but ultimately couldn't quite come down with. Even on a play where a chance at the upset was lost, Shurmur still showed off his skills. As a team, Vanderbilt stood tall in going toe-to-toe with the Fighting Irish; Shurmur stood front and center.

With the Commodores down 16-0 late in the first half, Shurmur showed plenty of moxie and toughness in leading Vanderbilt back to the brink. Though missing out on the victory was certainly disappointing, Shurmur, moving forward, will have another chance to rally his team forward. Still 2-1, the Commodores have upcoming home games with South Carolina and Tennessee State before a trip to defending SEC Champion Georgia. Shurmur has the talent to make Vanderbilt a factor in a division without an established heirarchy.  

One season after setting a program record and finishing second in the SEC with 26 passing touchdowns, Shurmur is still improving and impressing. A historic trip to Notre Dame was no different.

BJ Bennett - B.J. Bennett is SouthernPigskin.com's founder and publisher. He is the co-host of "Three & Out" with Kevin Thomas and Ben Troupe on the "Southern Pigskin Radio Network". Email: bj@espncoastal.com / Twitter: @BJBennettSports