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SOUTH BEND, Ind. — When the BYU Cougars traveled to South Bend, Ind., to face the No. 5 Notre Dame Fighting Irish, the Cougars came ready to battle for the upset.
At halftime the Cougars led 14-7 and the team and Cougar fans thought BYU could easily win this game and turn around the season.
However, as is becoming typical for BYU this season, the team could not make a few critical plays to win the game and lost 17-14. BYU had once again played with its fan’s hearts, got them excited and then ripped them out in the end.
One play that will torment BYU is an incomplete pass to a wide-open Cody Hoffman during the fourth quarter which most likely would have resulted in a touchdown and potentially secured a BYU win.
However, Nelson threw a bad pass and he said the pass is one that he will remember for a long time.
“That’s one of those things that is going to haunt me to my death,” Nelson said.
Hoffman was ready for the ball and is sad that the ball happened to just miss his hands.
“He just threw it behind me and just missed me by a little bit,” Hoffman said. “I was kind of surprised I was that wide open but watching the safeties play the whole game, I knew it was wide open.”
Hoffman finished the night as BYU’s leading receiver with eight receptions for 86 yards and a touchdown.
BYU head coach Bronco Mendenahll was happy with how his team performed overall but knows the loss is due to his team not making critical plays.
“I was proud of our team,” Mendenhall said. “We had a great chance and a number of chances to maybe pull off an upset. But ultimately we didn’t make a critical play here or there right down the stretch to win the game.”
While this particular play and the frustrating loss may remain on BYU’s mind for a while, there were some bright points in this game that should not go unnoticed.
One achievement which should be recognized is that BYU scored two touchdowns against Notre Dame.
Notre Dame’s defense had not allowed a touchdown in four games and had only allowed two touchdowns in a game against Purdue.
Notre Dame All-American linebacker Manti Te’o said it was hard to see someone making a touchdown, especially at home.
“It made me mad, it made us all mad to see somebody running in our end zone,” Te’o said.
Another bright spot for BYU was the play of the defense. After a lackluster performance against nationally ranked Oregon State last week, the defense wanted to prove it was still a force to be reckoned with.
Linebacker Kyle Van Noy had his first interception of the season, which set-up the Cougars' second touchdown.
Freshman Bronson Kaufusi had a huge quarterback sack. Also, Craig Bills and Jordan Johnson had some big tackles that potentially stopped some scoring opportunities for the Irish.
Senior Brandon Ogletree thought the BYU defense and offense did enough to normally win a game.
“Our goal is to hold teams to under 24 and for our offense to score 24,” Ogletree said. “When that happens, we usually win. Fourteen should have been enough.”
BYU will now need to turn around and prepare for another road battle against Georgia Tech next week.
Ogletree believes the team will not have a problem bouncing back and will work hard as it prepare for its next match.
“We have some resilient dudes and we are not going to let this loss set us back,” Ogletree said. “Sure, it’s going to sting over the weekend, but the best remedy is hard work. We are going to come back Monday ready to work.”
Ashley Anderson is a senior at BYU majoring in public relations with the hope of one day having a career in sports public relations.