Michael Mayer gets Notre Dame football off to a strong start

Gayle Bell
ND Insider

Sophomore tight end Michael Mayer got Notre Dame off to a strong Sunday with his  41-yard touchdown reception from quarterback Jack Coan, putting the Irish up 7-0 early on.

The Irish beat Florida State 41-38 in overtime. 

He finished with 9 catches for 120 yards, but he had a key drop late in regulation that could have put the Irish into field goal range.

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Last season as a freshman, in his first game action in an Irish uniform, Mayer made a difference off the bench, posting three receptions for 38 yards, including a 17-yard long, in the season-opening win vs. Duke.

Notre Dame's Michael Mayer (87) runs in a touchdown during the Notre Dame-Florida State NCAA football game on Sunday, Sept. 5, 2021, in Tallahassee, Florida.

Last year's breakout game came against Pitt on Oct. 23, when he had five receptions for 73 yards and a TD (23-yard long) in the 45-3 win. All five of Mayer’s receptions resulted in first downs, and all were for a gain of 10 yards or longer. Mayer averaged 14.6 yards per catch.

He led the Irish with five receptions for 51 yards in the ACC Championship game (Dec. 19) against Clemson and then started and led the Irish in receiving yards with 62 (seven receptions) in the College Football Playoff semifinal loss Alabama at the Rose Bowl (Jan. 1). His seven receptions were a single-game career-high.

The 6-foot-5, 251-pound Mayer  doubled as an elite defensive end at Covington Catholic High School in Park Hills, Ky., racking up 99 tackles, 7.5 tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks, five forced fumbles and four interceptions for a team that went 15-0 his senior season and 44-1 over his final three years, winning two Kentucky Class 5A state titles. 

Notre Dame tight end Michael Mayer (87) celebrates his touchdown with teammate wide receiver Kevin Austin Jr. (4) against Florida State in the first quarter of an NCAA college football game Sunday, Sept. 5, 2021, in Tallahassee, Fla.