Blue and Gold Illustrated

Nov. 12, 2022

Blue & Gold Illustrated: America's Foremost Authority on Notre Dame Football

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12 NOV. 12, 2022 BLUE & GOLD ILLUSTRATED UNDER THE DOME Korbin Albert — Soccer The sophomore midfielder from Grayslake, Ill., became the first Notre Dame player to claim ACC Midfielder of the Year honors since the award was introduced in 2014. Albert — who through Nov. 2 was one of only five ACC play- ers with double-digit goals this season (10) — also earned ACC Offensive Player of the Week recognition in each of the final two weeks during the regular season. Through 18 games, Albert was second on the Irish with 10 goals and 24 points. Ryan Bischel — Hockey The senior goaltender from Medina, Minn., helped Notre Dame open its Big Ten season with a 1-0-1 weekend against Michigan State Oct. 28-29. He recorded 30 saves in a 5-0 shut- out in Game 1 and followed that with a career-best 41 saves in a 1-1 tie against the Spartans in Game 2. Bischel, a 2021-22 All-Academic Big-Ten hon- oree, earned Third Star of the Week conference honors for his effort. Eva Gaetino — Soccer The junior midfielder from Dexter, Mich., became the first Irish player to earn ACC Defen- sive Player of the Year honors Nov. 2, after leading the way for a team that posted 10 shutouts in the regular season (seven against ACC opponents). Gaetino spearheaded a Notre Dame defense that limited opponents to only 8.89 shots on goal per game, which led the ACC and ranked 10th nationally. Carter Solomon — Cross Country The sophomore from Canton, Mich., claimed the men's indi- vidual title at the ACC Champi- onships Oct. 28 in Charlottes- ville, Va. He crossed the finish line with a time of 22:55.9, just 0.2 seconds ahead of North Carolina's Parker Wolfe, to help the Fighting Irish to a fourth-place team finish. In the process, Solomon became only the sec- ond Notre Dame runner to be crowned champion in meet history. TOP TOP OF THE CLASS OF THE CLASS Irish student-athletes excelling on the field and in the classroom ✦ GIMME FIVE Junior tight end Michel Mayer has a legitimate shot at finishing his college career with the second most receptions of any player in Notre Dame football history. Mayer grabbed sole possession of fifth in that statisti- cal category with the first of his 3 catches for 54 yards in the Fighting Irish's 41-24 win at Syracuse Oct. 29. He passed Golden Tate (2007-09) and Tom Gatewood (1969-71), both of whom are tied with 157 career recep- tions. Through Week 9, Mayer had 160 and counting. Next on the list for Mayer to pass is Rhema McKnight (170 receptions from 2002-06). Michael Floyd (2008-11) holds a record that might not be broken for a long, long time — if ever. He caught 271 passes in his career. Second on the all-time list is Floyd's former teammate, TJ Jones (2010-13), with 181 career receptions. Mayer only needed 22 receptions in the final four regular season games plus a possible bowl game to slide into second all time. If he gets there, Mayer will also pass Jeff Samardzija (179 receptions from 2003-06), who currently ranks third. The most impressive part of Mayer's methodical rise through the Notre Dame record book is that he's done it with several quarterbacks throwing him the ball. In 2020, it was Notre Dame all-time wins leader Ian Book. In 2021, it was a mix of Wisconsin graduate transfer Jack Coan, then-true freshman Tyler Buchner and then-sophomore Drew Pyne. This year, it was Buchner until he was injured, and it has been Pyne ever since. It doesn't matter who's taking snaps behind center for the Irish. Mayer is inevitable. All four of the players ahead of Mayer on the all-time receptions list played at least four sea- sons. Mayer is on pace to rank second overall in just three seasons, assuming he forgoes his senior year to enter the 2023 NFL Draft. Con- sidering his status as a potential first-round pick, that's just about a forgone conclusion. — Tyler Horka CHARTING THE IRISH NOTRE DAME'S IDENTITY IS EVIDENT IN TIME OF POSSESSION STATISTIC Notre Dame has tangible evidence that the identity the Fighting Irish are trying to embody early in the Marcus Freeman era is already taking hold. The Irish ranked ninth nationally among Power Five schools in time of possession (TOP) through Week 9. Notre Dame held onto the ball for an average of 32:59.38 per game in its first eight games accord- ing to Only eight teams in the Power Five and 11 teams in the FBS had better marks through Week 9. That's a direct result of the Irish's dedication to running the football offensively and preventing the opposition from doing so defensively. Notre Dame's Week 9 performance was a height- ened example of who the Irish wish to be. The Irish ran the ball 53 times for 249 yards, excluding kneel downs and sacks. Syracuse ran the ball 21 times for 79 yards, excluding sacks. That led to a time of pos- session edge of 37:40 to 22:20 for the Irish. It's new territory for Notre Dame to be ranked as high as No. 12 in the FBS in TOP outside of 2020 when the Irish finished No. 7 in the statistic. The average national ranking for the Irish in TOP during the 12-year tenure of former head coach Brian Kelly was 70.7. — Tyler Horka ALL TIME NOTRE DAME RECEPTIONS LEADERS Rk. Name (Years) Receptions 1. Michael Floyd (2008-11) 271 2. TJ Jones (2010-13) 181 3. Jeff Samardzija (2003-06) 179 4. Rhema McKnight (2002-06) 170 5. Michael Mayer (2020-present) 160* * Through Week 9 of 2022 FBS LEADERS IN AVERAGE TIME OF POSSESSION THROUGH WEEK 9 Rk. School Time Of Possession 1. Minnesota 35:43.50 2. Illinois 35:15.63 3. Georgia 35:00.00 4. Michigan 34:44.13 5. Kentucky 34:30.13 6. Baylor 33:16.25 7. Purdue 33:16.13 8. Utah 33:08.13 9. Notre Dame 32:59.38 10. Pittsburgh 32:57.75 Source: Junior tight end Michael Mayer has the potential to leave South Bend as the sec- ond-most prolific pass catcher, regard- less of position, in Fighting Irish history. PHOTO BY CHAD WEAVER

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