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Finally, A Fast Start

UNLV vs Notre Dame

The Irish offense finally got off to the fast start they’ve been striving for all season. With outstanding plays by Drew Pyne, Michael Mayer and Audric Estime, they scored a quick TD on their 1st possession of the game. On their next possession, even with a 37 yard pass from Pyne to WR Jayden Thomas, Notre Dame was forced to settle for Blake Grupe’s 1st of 3 field goals for a Notre Dame lead of 10-0 early in the 1st quarter.

UNLV proved they had some of their own offensive power when Courtney Reese sprinted down the field for a 74 yard run from scrimmage followed by a 2 yard TD run by Jordan Younge-Humphrey for the Rebs which resulted in their only score of the first half.

UNLV struggled mightily on offense for the rest of the 1st half resorting to rotating quarterbacks, Cameron Friel and Harrison Bailey. And you know what they say about having 2 quarterbacks…

Notre Dame’s defense played lights out in the 1st half after that initial score by the Rebels. Isaiah Foskey played with reckless abandon by blocking not 1 but 2 UNLV punts which was the 1st time in recorded Irish history (since 1937) when that feat was accomplished in a single game by a Notre Dame player!

Michael Mayer’s only TD catch of the day, a 20 yarder from Pyne, tied him with Ken MacAfee for the most touchdowns (15) by a tight end in Notre Dame history. Mayer finished the day with a total of 6 receptions for 115 yards, one of which was a spectacular one handed catch that had even the announcers asking, “How did he do that???”

Blake Grupe added 2 more field goals and the Irish were up 23-7 at the end of the 1st quarter.

Both teams exchanged possessions for most of the 2nd quarter until a drive by the Irish made up of a combination of runs by Logan Diggs and Drew Pyne resulted in a one yard touchdown by TE Mitchell Evans on 1st and goal. The kick by Grupe gave the Irish a 23 point lead heading in to halftime, 30-7.

In the 2nd half, the Running Rebels’ offense came alive. Under the direction of QB Harrison Bailey, UNLV put together a 9 play drive from their own 24 yard line ending in a 2 yard scamper on a keeper by Bailey to tighten the score to 30-14.

The Irish running back duo of Chris Tyree and Logan Diggs churned out a bunch of yardage on the ground, eating up the clock at the same time. Notre Dame put together their own long drive which spread out between the end of the 3rd quarter and beginning of the 4th with Chris Tyree taking it into the end zone and giving the 23 point lead back to the Irish, 37-14.

The Rebs came back with their own touchdown score on a 4th and goal call with 8 minutes left in the game, but then the Logan Diggs Show began! For the very 1st time, Diggs rushed for over 100 yards even though Braden Lenzy took the ball in for the final touchdown. Diggs ran for 130 yards on 28 carries.

Final score today, Notre Dame-44, UNLV-21

For those of you who didn’t watch the game on Peacock, Jason Garrett had some interesting insight into the development of the Irish offensive line. He’s spent a lot of time with them this season and was impressed by the coaching strategy of Harry Hiestand. He noted that even in meetings they work as one unit sitting 5 to a row beginning with the starters. They eat together, they leave the table together, and even All-Pro Zack Martin of the Dallas Cowboys comes back to seek the counsel of Coach Hiestand. Those final few drives on the ground today prove that the line is coming together and working as one.

Next Saturday, the Fighting Irish will travel to take on #14 Syracuse. The time and the network carrying this game are TBD. The Orangemen lost a close one today to #5 Clemson who will be ND’s opponent back at Notre Dame Stadium at 7:30, 11/5 on NBC. The Irish will have their work cut out for them in the upcoming weeks.

As always, GO IRISH!

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