ND football reflects on win over BYU, gears up for rival Stanford

Published: Oct. 11, 2022 at 11:00 AM EDT
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SOUTH BEND, Ind. (WNDU) - The Fighting Irish football team is back in South Bend after taking down BYU in Las Vegas this past Saturday in the latest edition of the Shamrock Series.

Head Coach Marcus Freeman spoke to the media Monday for the first time since arriving back home. Freeman was loose and relaxed… and why shouldn’t he be? His Fighting Irish have won their last three games and now return home for back-to-back games at The House That Rockne Built.

“It’s good to be back,” Freeman said. “What a unique experience in a special environment. It was in Las Vegas for the Shamrock Series game. As I told our program, that’s what makes us special and that’s what makes this place unique. Special shout out to our fans that showed up there and that unbelievable stadium. That was really, really cool. It’s obviously even better to come out with a win.”

Meanwhile, Notre Dame was impressive on both sides of the ball at times during their matchup against BYU. Drew Pyne threw three touchdown passes for the second-straight game and the defense held firm, despite a late comeback push from the Cougars.

While it was an impressive win in all phases, perhaps the most important was Pyne’s performance. A major question mark for a good chunk of the season now seems safe to believe that the quarterback spot is in good hands with Pyne.

In addition to throwing for over 250 yards and three scores, Pyne also showed he knows where to go in a pinch, throwing to his All-American tight end Michael Mayer so often that the Mayer broke the record for most catches in a game by a Notre Dame tight end.

Freeman touched on Pyne’s growth within the system during Monday’s press conference.

“He’s starting to make some plays where he’s improvising a little bit,” Freeman said. “I know the one where he’s falling down and throws the ball to Audric (Estime), we kind of were like, ‘Whoa, okay.’ That is one we thought he was probably going to take a sack. But that comes with confidence. I think when you start making right decisions, you take care of the football, now you’re seeing him start to make plays.

“You’re also seeing some receivers and a tight end make him look really good,” Freeman continued. “He’ll get credit for that. But that catch that Jayden Thomas made for a touchdown was a heck of a catch. I’ve always said it, man, quarterbacks will get praise and take blame for maybe certain areas that they don’t have to. It’s good to see some guys making him look good and him making some plays.”

There are plenty of good things to take away from this one, but with the next game at home against rival Stanford just a few days away, Freeman doesn’t want his guys dwelling on this high for too long.

“It’s going to be a talented football team that is going to come in here and present a huge challenge for our football team,” Freeman said.” As I told the guys, enjoy the win for a day, and we have to move forward. Today, we’ll practice. We didn’t practice yesterday because of the late arrival. But today, we’ll meet, put the BYU game to rest, and we got to get ready for Stanford.”

Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. Saturday at Notre Dame Stadium.