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Notre Dame Beats BYU: The Michael Mayer, the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Viva Las Vegas, and Notre Dame’s undefeated Shamrock Series record

NCAA Football: Brigham Young at Notre Dame Lucas Peltier-USA TODAY Sports

On a night where Kentucky football lost 24-7 at home to South Carolina, it was nice (and good for my health) to see Notre Dame not blow a lead against a ranked team. But the 28-20 Irish victory still had its ups and downs.

There was some ugly. There was some bad. There was some good. And there was Michael Mayer. And above all else, a win is a win is a win. So here are some quick hitters from a Catholic win over Mormons in Sin City.

Michael Mayer

God among men

Brigham Young v Notre Dame Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images


  • Drew Pyne, Michael Mayer’s No. 1 fan
  • TaRiq Bracy, best nickel in the country
  • Jayden Thomas breaking out
  • Irish offensive line (a Josh Lugg holding penalty notwithstanding)
  • Audric Estime hurdles
  • Audric Estime bulldozes
  • Audric Estime 45-yard runs
Brigham Young v Notre Dame Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images
  • Logan Diggs 33-yard runs
  • Prince Kollie’s closing speed
  • Pyne scrambling for first downs on third down
  • Blake Grupe in the red zone
  • Notre Dame’s fourth down defense in a pressure situation
  • Notre Dame’s Shamrock Series drip
  • J.D. Bertrand not getting ejected for targeting for the third game in a row
  • Manti Te’o living his best life
NCAA Football: Brigham Young at Notre Dame Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports
  • Mayer and Te’o chopping it up postgame
  • Mayer’s classiness postgame
  • Marcus Freeman smiling after a win
NCAA Football: Brigham Young at Notre Dame Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports


  • An opposing defense leaving Michael Mayer uncovered for a touchdown (tee hee hee …)
  • Notre Dame’s red zone playcalling
  • Chris Tyree’s hands and feet trying to keep up with the rest of his body
  • Clarence Lewis blowing his one shining moment for a pick-six
  • Pyne’s ability to see/throw over opposing defensive lines
  • Notre Dame’s fourth-and-goal defense in the first quarter
  • Isaiah Foskey no-showing against ranked teams
  • The Emperor/Supreme Warlord/Defender of the Faith’s late-night Twitter antics


  • Jaren Hall’s first pass of the game (tee hee hee …)
  • Probably Tommy Rees’ phone call with Drew Pyne after Pyne overthrew Mayer on a two-point conversion attempt
  • Notre Dame still ripping off Georgia’s start-of-the-fourth-quarter phone lights (how long are we gonna keep doing this?)
  • Notre Dame’s defense giving up a 20-yard run on 3rd-and-17 from inside BYU’s 10-yard line, which ultimately led to a Cougars touchdown
  • Why keep blitzing safeties?
  • What’s the justification for blitzing safeties?
  • Where is the tangible benefit to blitzing the safeties?
  • *Seinfeld voice* What’s the deal with blitzing the safeties?
  • Injuries to Bracy and Howard Cross

Bittersweet (bonus category)

  • Jacob Lacey not being part of this

If you missed it, Lacey — a senior defensive tackle with two years of eligibility remaining — entered the transfer portal earlier this week. He had a breakout performance against Cal (2.0 sacks, 2.0 TFL, 5 total tackles) but didn’t register on the box score against North Carolina.

Speaking personally for a minute, I feel a connection with Lacey, and not just because we’re both from the state of Kentucky (but that is the main reason). I started covering Notre Dame sports for the student newspaper — The Observer — my sophomore year. My first assignment “covering” football was blurbs on two of Notre Dame’s commits for the 2019 National Signing Day edition of the paper. My assigned players were Marist Liufau and Jacob Lacey.

If you followed my position group previews this offseason, you’ll understand why I call Lacey the “Kentucky Gentleman.” (I suppose Michael Mayer inherits that title now). And while Lacey couldn’t be a part of this win, and I’m sad to see him go, I obviously wish him the best in the future. So here’s to you, Mr. Lacey.