The Notre Dame football team takes on UNLV in Week 8 college football action, and here are the Irish players to keep an eye on in the matchup.
The Notre Dame football team is reeling entering Week 8, as the loss to the Stanford Cardinal on Saturday night was another stunning defeat this season. The Irish had already lost to the lowly Marshall Thundering Herd early on in the season, and despite being three-score favorites against the Cardinal, they came out flat in their 16-14 loss at home.
Now, they turn their attention to the UNLV Rebels, another team they should be able to beat inside Notre Dame Stadium. Unfortunately, this team has been a roller coaster all season long, and the hope is that they can start playing consistent football under first-year head coach, Marcus Freeman.
Here, we look at some key Irish players to keep an eye on Saturday against the Rebels.
Notre Dame football vs UNLV: Irish players to watch
For the previous 2.5 games before the loss to Stanford, Drew Pyne had been terrific for the Irish, playing effective football, and running Tommy Rees’s offense to perfection. On Saturday night, however, he was inexplicably bad, and while the playcalling left much to be desired, Pyne also looked lost and out of place.
Against UNLV, he needs to go back to being the confident signal-caller that appeared to not only be turning the Irish season around, but posturing to be the starter next season as well. If he struggles in the first half like he did against the Cardinal, we could see true freshman Steve Angeli.
After missing the loss against Stanford, the Irish figure to have TaRiq Bracy back in the lineup against the Rebels on Saturday. Bracy had been a main cog in the Irish winning streak, and having him back is going to bolster a secondary that could be up against a real playmaker in Doug Blumfield if the quarterback is healthy in Week 8.
One bright spot during the loss to the Cardinal was the first career touchdown reception for true freshman wideout, Tobias Merriweather. Unfortunately, we did not see him the rest of the game, and when the depth chart was released on Tuesday, he was nowhere to be found either.
The Notre Dame football program has an elite talent in tight end Michael Mayer, whose impact in 2022 will go way beyond the statistics.
With Jayden Thomas emerging, and Lorenzo Styles Jr. a potential WR1, Merriweather is the kind of playmaker that can give the Irish some much-needed depth at the wide receiver position. Maybe we see him against in Week 8, because his growth is very important to a very thin position group.