Last week’s trip to the Notre Dame-Ohio State comeback machine made me think of another unique Blue Moon game on the schedule this season.

The Notre Dame Fighting Irish will face the Brigham Young University Cougars on October 8 at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas for the 2022 Shamrock Series game.

While the Shamrock Series is always exciting, this game will mark Notre Dame’s first trip to Nevada, the Irish’s first meeting with the Cougars since 2013, and an 11-0 shot in Shamrock Series games for the Irish. .

A holy war in Sin City

Few universities are as synonymous with their religious affiliations as BYU and Notre Dame. BYU is unique even among Christian universities in that all students must have ecclesiastical approval and adhere to the university’s strict and controversial honor code. The BYU football team has evolved into one of the most critical means of visibility for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

The religious aspects of both schools have allowed them to build fanbases that span more widely than many public schools. People become more attached to these teams. A match like this just hits different.

‘Cause I depend on me and no conference

This approach to a showdown between two independents is all the more exciting as the plate tectonics of the conferences get crazier by the hour. While Notre Dame has always been independent except for that ACC calendar nonsense during the pandemic, BYU declared independence from the Mountain West Conference in 2011 amid increased investment from the college in football facilities and as rival Utah left the MWC for the PAC -12.

What is the backstory?

The Irish and Cougars have met eight times in total, and Notre Dame leads the series 6-2. Notre Dame and BYU first met in 1992. The firepower of Notre Dame’s Jerome Bettis, Reggie Brooks and Rick Mirer fueled a 42-16 Irish victory. The Irish went on to dominate the Cougars in 1993, 2003, 2012 and 2005.

The Cougars shocked Lou Holtz’s leadership with a 21-14 win over the Irish in 1994 and notched their second win over Notre Dame in 2004, 20-17.

Both teams last left things behind in 2013 with a 23-13 Irish win and strong performances from Notre Dame quarterback Tommy Rees and running back Cam McDaniel. Rees led the snowy, windy game with a 61-yard touchdown pass to DaVaris Daniels and McDaniel rushed for a career-high 117 yards against the Cougars. The W against BYU was the first game the Irish hadn’t hung in this season since the 2013 game against the Temple Owls.

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