Notre Dame topples No. 16 BYU 28-20 in Las Vegas


By WG RAMIREZ, Associated Press

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Notre Dame coach Marcus Freeman has described tight end Michael Mayer as a work in progress.

He also called him a phenom and a great football player after the junior caught 11 passes for 118 yards and two touchdowns to become the program’s all-time receiving leader for a tight end as Notre Dame won his junior year. in a row, beating No. 16 Brigham Young 28-20 on Saturday night.

“What you love about Michael Mayer is that he works the hardest,” Freeman said. “It’s an unfinished product, but he gets it. He wants to improve. He doesn’t want to be told what he does well, he wants to be told how he can improve and that’s a special player”.

Drew Pyne threw for 262 yards and three touchdowns for the Irish, while running backs Logan Diggs and Audric Estime added a combined 190 rushing yards.

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And although Mayer emerged as the star of the game for the Irish, he refused to take any credit.

“Today is not about me, today is about the team getting a big win,” Mayer said. “The offense played great, the defense played great, we came to Vegas and got a win and that’s all that matters.”

The game was the 11th edition of Notre Dame’s annual Shamrock Series and marked the first time the Irish had faced a fellow FBS independent since a 44-6 win over Army in 2016.

Notre Dame improved to 11-0 all time in its Shamrock Series, in front of an announced gathering of 62,742, the largest crowd for a collegiate athletic event in Nevada history.

“This was a home game for us, the fans showed up,” Mayer said of the pro-Notre Dame crowd.

Despite playing a bit affected by last week’s game against Utah State, BYU (4-2) quarterback Jaren Hall started and finished 9-for-17 passing for 120 yards with two touchdowns. Chris Brooks rushed for 90 yards on 14 carries, including a touchdown, while Kody Epps caught four passes for 100 yards and scored two touchdowns.

“I don’t think he was 100% … he was definitely hurt,” BYU coach Kalani Sitake said of Hall. “We have to go back and figure out what our game plan was and what he can do.”

Trailing 25-6 early in the second half, the Cougars made things interesting by scoring 14 unanswered points to make it 25-20.

After Brooks cut Notre Dame’s lead to five with a 28-yard touchdown, Cougars linebacker Max Tooley intercepted Pyne and returned the ball to BYU. But the Cougars couldn’t capitalize and went three and out.

Blake Grupe’s 20-yard field goal gave the Irish an eight-point lead. BYU then drove into Notre Dame territory but was stopped when defensive tackle Jayson Ademilola dragged Cougars running back Lopini Katoa on 4 and 1.

“That was great,” Freeman said of the stop. “You can feel a little sense of panic. Getting the stop on 4th and 1, it was a great play.”

The Irish made 73 offensive plays compared to BYU’s 46 while outscoring the Cougars 496 to 280. It was Notre Dame’s second-highest offensive production this season after amassing 576 yards in a 45-32 win at Carolina. North on September 24. The Irish’s 536 yards per game in the last two games is a 44% increase from the 300.3 yards per game they averaged in their first three games.

Former Notre Dame women’s basketball star Jackie Young was recognized during a timeout in the second quarter. Young, who was an integral part of the Irish national championship race in 2018 and who was a gold medalist for the USA in 2020, helped the Las Vegas Aces win the franchise’s first WNBA title last month. . Young was also named the most improved player in the league.

BYU: Playing at home to the NFL’s Las Vegas Raiders marked the second time BYU has played at Allegiant Stadium after opening the 2021 season with a win over Arizona there. BYU is now 4-3 in NFL stadiums under coach Kalani Sitake, while the Cougars fell to 14-5 when they played in Las Vegas.

Notre Dame: Notre Dame finished 11-for-16 on third downs, while their defense limited BYU to just 3-for-9 on their third-down conversion attempts.

BYU: Returns home to host Arkansas on Saturday.

Notre Dame: Will play the first of back-to-back home games on Saturday, against Stanford.

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Copyright 2022 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


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