For the second straight year BYU came up short against the Fighting Irish in South Bend, Indiana. The Irish did enough, led by Tommy Rees to secure the win in a game that was fought in the trenches.
The first half felt a lot like the Wisconsin game two weeks ago. The Irish linemen dominated both sides of the ball, both giving Tommy Rees all the time in the world to throw and constantly putting pressure on Taysom Hill. Rees picked on BYU's young secondary early by completing a 61 yard touchdown to DaVaris Daniels. Not starting Daniel and Hague gave a chance for Skye PoVey to make an impact, but the corner was beat multiple times early on.
Hill answered the first Notre Dame touchdown with an impressive drive mixing passes and runs to score with a JD Falslev catch for a touchdown. This was the first game back for Falslev after being sidelined with a broken hand for the last few games. Taysom made a lot of great plays with his feet early on, but became less effective as the half carried on.
BYU's defense was excellent last year when they visited the Irish in South Bend, but struggled to get stops in the first half. One bright spot was a Craig Bills deflection to stop the Irish from scoring near the end of the first half which gave the Cougar's a turnover on downs. BYU had a chance to score, but Taysom Hill threw an interception in the end zone to go into halftime with Notre Dame leading 17-7.
Notre Dame and BYU traded field goals to start the first half to keep the game within 10 points. The bend but not break BYU defense then made a huge fourth down stand as the Fighting Irish were deep in Cougar territory. Hill and the offense started clicking on the ensuing drive and drove down to the Irish 10 yard line before kicking a field goal to go down 20-13 late in the third quarter. On that drive the quick pace and pistol formation from the Cougars was effective and resulted in a lot of successful plays.
Craig Bills once again came up huge for the Cougars early in the fourth quarter by making an acrobatic one hand interception in the end zone, but the offense couldn’t get anything going and ended up punting back to the Irish. It appeared that the Cougars had held the Irish yet again, but Kyle Brindza hit a 51 yard field goal to push the lead back up to 10. Brindza hit all three of his field goal tries on the day. Following the field goal, Paul Lasike set up a BYU field goal try by Justin Sorensen that was blocked with a huge 40 yard run that got the Cougars down to the 5 yard line.
The Cougar offense had a chance late in the game, but the Cougar offense stalled as the Irish put a lot of pressure on Hill and the BYU offensive line.
For the season, Taysom Hill eclipsed the 1,000 yard rushing mark to go with over 2,000 yards of passing; becoming only the 23rd player ever to do so. Special teams was also a positive for BYU with Adam Hine giving the Cougars great field position on many kickoff returns and Justin Sorensen hitting two big field goals to keep the Cougars in the game, but missing a crucial one late in the 4th quarter.
The Cougars end the regular season next week by traveling to Kyle Van Noy’s hometown of Reno to play the Nevada Wolf Pack.