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The Irish Were Feeling Lucky In Vegas


📷 Credit: @ndfootball on Instagram

Notre Dame defeated BYU last Saturday for the annual Shamrock Series game in Las Vegas. After a dominating first half by the Irish, BYU took advantage and narrowed the lead early in the second half. Despite a valiant effort, the Irish came away victorious with a final score of 28-0. Coach Freeman had this to say after the game on Saturday…


“As I told our program, that's what makes us special and that's what makes this place unique. Special shout out to our fans that showed up there and that unbelievable stadium. That was really, really cool. It's obviously even better to come out with a win."


By no means did Notre Dame play a perfect game, but they did what they needed to do to come away with the win. This also marks the first time Marcus Freeman’s team has beaten a ranked opponent, but Irish fans hope it’s not the last. Coach Marcus Freeman had this to say at his press conference on Monday…


“It was a great experience. You almost had a bowl game feel, but it was a majority home crowd. It was a home environment and a home game but at a neutral sight. It was a great stadium. Again, I was honored to be the head coach of the shamrock series game versus a great opponent and came out with a great victory."


📷 Credit: @ndfootball on Instagram


Players of the Game


Michael Mayer

Michael Mayer had an amazing game last Saturday against BYU. In addition to ending the night with 11 receptions for 118 yards and 2 touchdowns, he also broke Notre Dame’s record for most receptions by a tight end. Coach Freeman had this to say about his All-American tight end…

“He's a great practice player. He's got God-given ability. That's where it starts. He's been blessed with unbelievable talent. But he's a great practice player that wants coach Parker and coach Rees to make him improve. Coach Parker told me last night, Michael Mayer texted him early in the morning, I'm sure when he woke up, saying, ‘hey, what points do you have from the game that I need to improve at?’ Not saying, ‘Hey, coach, I broke the record, did you see this catch?’ But rather where can I get better at? The great ones do that. The great ones want to be told how to get better. Michael Mayer is a great example of that.”

Drew Pyne

After a rough start to him being named the starting quarterback, Drew Pyne has quickly become one of the clear leaders of this team. Pyne finished the night going 22/28 with 262 passing yards and 3 touchdowns, as he led this Irish team to victory. Coach Freeman had this to say about his quarterback…


“He's starting to make some plays where he's improvising a little bit. I know the one where he's falling down and throws the ball to Audric, we kind of were like, 'Whoa, okay.' That is one we thought he was probably gonna take a sack. But that comes with confidence. I think when you start making the right decisions, you take care of the football, now you're seeing him start to make plays.”

Jayden Thomas

After a lackluster start to the season, Jayden Thomas finished the night with an impressive performance. Despite finishing with only 3 receptions for 74 yards and 1 touchdown, Thomas proved to be clutch during key moments of the game. Irish fans hope he can continue this trend for the rest of the season. Coach Freemans said this about Thomas…

"He is probably one of our best route runners and can be one of our best receivers and playmakers on offense. We just got to continue to improve. But he's got to continue to do it in a game because he's practicing at a high level. He's one of those guys that are practicing at a high level. When you see a guy that's playing a lot, maybe doesn't have a production in the games, but is still playing a lot, that means he's earning that trust in practice. Jayden has been a guy that's practicing at a high level. I think what you're seeing now is the results of that in the game."


Areas of Concern


Linebacker Play

Despite returning two starters and a plethora of talent, Notre Dame’s defense has left a lot to be desired this season. The linebackers appear to continually fill the wrong gap, play timidly, and fail to finish plays. As a causal onlooker, it’s difficult to determine whether or not this is a scheme problem or if the coaches are asking their players to do too much problem. If Marist, JD, and Jack can not play at a higher level then it may be time to get younger players on the field. One of those players who has impressed is Prince Kollie. Coach Freeman had this to say about Prince…


“I challenged him last week: “Prince, you continue to build trust in practice. There is no such thing as a gamer. Your team needs you to be a great practice player.” That's my challenge to Prince and that's my challenge to many other players in our football program. For Prince to go and make a big play like that man, it was good to see. He's a talented football player. He had a really good week of practice. He played more this past game than he probably ever has. Continue to put the work in during practice to gain the confidence of your coaches to make you a better football player. I think he can be really special.”


Final Take


Notre Dame learned some things about themselves and the leadership that this team continues to show on Saturdays. Hopefully, the Irish can continue to build on their offensive momentum and clean up their deficiencies on defense. Despite coming away with an incredible victory last Saturday, all eyes are now on their rival: Stanford. Coach Freeman had this to say about facing the Cardinals…

“Going into this week and moving forward, it's a rivalry game. It's going to be a talented football team that is going to come in here and present a huge challenge for our football team. As I told the guys, enjoy the win for a day and we have to move forward. Today we'll practice. We didn't practice yesterday because of the late arrival. But today we'll meet, put the BYU game to rest and we gotta get ready for Stanford.”



Go Irish!


📷 Credit: @ndfootball on Instagram

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