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Michigan Punter Blake O'Neill Says Aussie Rules Background Led To Mistake

A general view of Michigan's football stadium.

ANN ARBOR, MI - SEPTEMBER 10: General view of the fans filling the University of Michigan Stadium prior to the start of the game between the Michigan Wolverines and the Notre Dame Fighting Irish on September 10, 2011 in Ann Arbor, Michigan. (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)

Michigan's Australian-born punter, Blake O'Neill, thinks his background played a role in the mistake that helped lead to a last-second, come-from-behind victory for Michigan State Saturday night inside the Big House, he told ESPN's Dan Murphy.

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Once the attempted punt was fumbled away, O'Neill tried to pick it up and kick it away, as he was taught using Aussie rules, instead of falling on the ball and hoping for a defensive stop. It was a split-second decision, and one he now accepts as a mistake. 

From Murphy's story:

"I tried to sort of kick it over my head, and that didn't work out," O'Neill said Tuesday from the team's practice facility. "That's life. That's football. You learn from it so you can do better and pick up yourself up, dust yourself and move on. We're sort of taught to pick up and move it on. Obviously, that's completely on me. I own this error and very much know better if I was to have my time over again."

It's hard to ignore your instincts at a moment like that, but at least O'Neill has come to terms with it and is ready to move forward.