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What Happens in Vegas, Stays in the Win Column

Written By Liam Gaudet, Senior Editor




I let out quite the sigh of relief from the press box at Allegiant Stadium on Saturday, as Notre Dame held on late to take care of business against the BYU Cougars 28-20. There was plenty to love about this game, and on the other hand, plenty to be desired. With that said, let's not waste any more time and take a look at what we learned about this Irish team on Saturday.


First, lets talk about the emergence of some of the younger players. Ben Morrison got his first start at corner this weekend after jumping Clarence Lewis on the depth chart. Personally, I thought Morrison had a terrific game, as he wasn't picked on very much which is always a great sign for a defensive back. I expect Morrison to be the anchor of an emerging secondary for years to come. Jaden Mickey also saw the field at points, but a miscommunication appeared to have him torched on a long BYU passing touchdown in the later stages of the game. Nevertheless, I still have the utmost confidence in the future of our secondary, and I don't think it's necessarily fair to say that Mickey isn't ready to play. Secondly, how about Jayden Thomas? I mean wow. The emergence from a young wide receiver was desperately needed, and almost felt like a defibrillator shot to a wide receiver room on life support. Thomas hauled in three passes for 73 yards and a touchdown on a catch that would have made Randy Moss raise his eyebrows. Look for Thomas to play a bigger role in the games to come, especially heading toward the easier end of the schedule. Eli Raridon and Holden Staes also saw snaps on Saturday, with Staes recording his first Notre Dame reception on a crucial third down. It is becoming more obvious that Marcus Freeman is looking for diamonds in the rough by letting younger guys see the field more often, which is something that is definitely welcomed.


What can be said about Michael Mayer that hasn't already been said. His beaming grin during the press conference was all I needed to see to know how he felt about holding the Notre Dame all time record for career receptions. Mayer caught 11 passes for 118 yards and two touchdowns Saturday, and made it look incredibly easy. His absurd catch radius is something that really stood out to me, and if you run back the tape on both of his touchdowns, it doesn't take much to understand why. Although he may have missed a block or two, it's negligible when comparing the absurd statistics he put up. Not to mention that 11 receptions is the most by an FBS tight end this season.


I would not be able to forgive myself if I didn't mention the tremendous growth that Drew Pyne has shown under center. He has shown terrific upside, and has seemed to increase in confidence and comfortability through each of his three starts this season. Credit to the offensive line for protecting Pyne all game long, as this is another positional group that has shown exponential growth since the beginning of the season. Pyne was extremely efficient outside of an interception that was tipped at the line of scrimmage. With the way his play has been trending, there is reason to believe that the best is yet to come for the signal caller.


All in all, I was impressed with the resolve of the team, despite making the game a lot closer than it needed to be toward the end. Lots of questions fans had about this offense after the first two weeks are slowly being answered, and it will be fun to see how open the playbook becomes now that a lot of fundamentals are being done correctly. This is a young team in a lot of areas, but the main thing to notice is the positive trend in all aspects of play. More takeaways are being forced from the defense, and the offense is looking more capable of maintaining drives on a consistent basis. I'm starting to believe that we are seeing the true potential that this team possesses, and it is genuinely exciting.



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