Notre Dame defeats UNLV 44-21

Published: Oct. 22, 2022 at 7:18 PM EDT
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SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP/WNDU) - Michael Mayer caught six passes for 115 yards, including a 20-yard touchdown, and Isaiah Foskey blocked two punts to set up a touchdown and a field goal in Notre Dame’s 44-21 win over UNLV on Saturday.

It’s just the second victory in four home games this season for the Fighting Irish.

“This place is special,” said head coach Marcus Freeman during his postgame press conference. “Notre Dame Stadium and the history and tradition of this place is something we all respect. And we haven’t had the greatest showings in our home games. And you can name a list of reasons why. I don’t know, but we needed to make sure our players understood the importance of performing well at home.

“And this is an advantage for us,” he added. “It has to be an advantage for us. And so, that’s why I made that comment about it was good to get a good win. And it was great to get a good win at Notre Dame Stadium.”

Mayer agreed with Freeman’s sentiments when it was his turn to take the podium after the game.

“It was a point of emphasis all season long that we can’t lose at home,” Mayer said. “Obviously, that’s not the way it’s been, but take this momentum and take it for the next home game. We’re going to need it. Nobody likes losing at home, nobody. Nobody in that locker room likes to lose at home, nobody in that locker room likes to lose at all. We’re trying our best, pouring our hearts out on that field. We never want to let these fans down, let this community down, and lose at home.”

Notre Dame hadn’t scored a first-quarter touchdown in its first six games, being outscored 27-6, but scored two in the first quarter on Saturday and added three field goals by Blake Grupe to open a 23-7 lead.

It was a familiar story for the Rebels, who lost their third straight and have been outscored 96-40 in the first quarter.

Notre Dame relied heavily on the ground-game, rushing for 223 yards on 47 carries while scoring three touchdowns. Logan Diggs took on the bulk of that load, taking 28 of those carries for 130 yards.

Overall, Notre Dame (4-3) outgained UNLV (4-4) 428 yards to 299 yards.

Saturday’s win marked the first victory by more than two touchdowns for the Fighting Irish since they defeated Stanford 45-14 in the regular-season finale last year.

Notre Dame will have a tough test next weekend, as the Irish hit the road to face Syracuse (6-1), who lost its first game of the season on Saturday at No. 5 Clemson 27-21.