LAS VEGAS — The largest crowd ever to assemble for a sporting event in the history of the Silver State saw one of the Golden Domers on the football field put on a show worthy of the neon lights that perpetually illuminate the Las Vegas Strip.
Notre Dame tight end Michael Mayer caught 11 passes for 118 yards and two touchdowns as the Fighting Irish defeated No. 16 BYU 28-20 at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas, part of the annual Shamrock Series games. Notre Dame rolled up 496 yards of total offense, including running backs Logan Diggs and Audric Estime combining for 190 yards on the ground.
When the Fighting Irish needed to put points on the board, however, they went to the air, as all three touchdowns Notre Dame scored came on passes by quarterback Drew Pyne, who hit Mayer for a 24-yard score on the first play of the second quarter to give Notre Dame the lead for good at 10-6. With that catch, Mayer passed former Notre Dame standout tight end Tyler Eifert, who had 141 career catches for the Irish before embarking on a productive NFL career, for the most catches in school history.
Meyer’s second touchdown reception came almost midway through the third, a diving catch along the left sideline from 19-yards out cap an almost seven-minute scoring drive to begin the third quarter and give the Fighting Irish their biggest lead at 25-6.
“The thing you love about Michael Mayer is he’s the hardest worker,” Notre Dame head coach Marcus Freeman said. “He’s an unfinished product, but he understands that. He wants to get better. 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.”
Notre Dame dominated the second quarter in outscoring BYU 15-0, and the Irish defense got into the scoring act when it sacked Cougars quarterback Jaren Hall in the end zone for a safety to extend the lead 12-6. On the ensuing possession, Pyne led the Fighting Irish on an 11-play touchdown drive, capped off by a 30-yard pass from Pyne to Jayden Thomas with just over a minute remaining in the half to head into halftime with an 18-6 lead.
*Editor’s note: Above the byline is the photo gallery from Saturday evening’s contest, with all photos taken by Las Vegas-area photographer Arnie Bazemore. After clicking on the first photo to enlarge the picture, make sure to press the left and right arrow buttons to scroll through the rest of the pictures. There are 18 pictures in total.