Bronco Mendenhall's comments after BYU falls 17-14 to Notre Dame
The Cougars lost another close one Saturday afternoon at Notre Dame Stadium, falling 17-14 to No. 5 Notre Dame.
Statistically, Notre Dame had the edge in total yards, 389-243, despite running one fewer play, 60-61.
The story of the game was probably ND's ability to run the ball on the Cougars, picking up 270 yards on the ground against the country's No. 3 defense against the run.
I will have more on the game later, but for now here's a transcript from coach Bronco Mendenhall's five-minute Q&A with reporters after the game:
"Congratulations to coach Kelly and Notre Dame. Their team played hard and physical and they had a couple more plays than our program today. They continue to do just what they need to do in keeping their undefeated season going, and I think they are a good football team, well-coached and they are to be credited for their effort today.
I was proud of our team, one or two plays away from being able to come away with a victory.
Most likely the best game collectively we have played offensively, defense and kicking, but when you put the composite together it was good enough to get us within striking distance and [we] had a great chance, a number of chances to maybe pull off an upset.
But ultimately didn't make a critical play here or there, right down the stretch, to win the game.
On why he punted from ND 34:
"Six minutes to go, thought we would have a great chance to make a stop. It was work and was longer that what I had hoped for, and with six minutes and 35 [yards], really believed we would stop them the get the ball back and get better field position than what we did."
So it was out of Justin Sorensen's range:
On whether they used timeouts well:
"I felt good about it. I don't think there was any fault about that and I'm not sure I would have done anything differently."
On Notre Dame's running game:
"Yeah, I was really impressed. They were physical and we had a very difficult time making consistent tackles and a lot of times, seems like we had good contact, either at the line of scrimmage or shortly thereafter and the running backs kept driving their legs and running hard. I was really impressed with their running game today."
On whether the defense wore down:
"Not sure. I don't know that they played really much different than in the first half, other than Notre Dame's approach was more conservative, and tried to run the ball more and more. But they did throw for enough big chunks here and there to kind of keep the chains moving. So I think it was just a little bit different half in terms of the way the game was going."
On missed chances:
"Plays like that are what I was referring to when [I said] we were one or two plays, execution-wise, from coming away with a win.
"Those would be two good examples. Cody was open and we did have an unblocked player at the point of attack that just didn't make a tackle. But those plays didn't determine the game, but those would be a couple good examples."
On whether he thought about punting or going for it before Sorensen's missed FG:
"Yeah, I thought about both. The momentum and the emphasis we have putting in practice on him, and the number he has made in the past two weeks, really has built my confidence to where I felt like we had a great chance. And that [miss] had something to do with the decision the second time, with where we were."
On ND's Theo Riddick:
"Really impressed. Just I think Notre Dame is well-coached. Ultimately, they executed at the critical moments. There were four or five plays today that changed the game. ANd to their credit they made those plays."
On Tommy Rees' starting for ND and whether that was a surprise:
"We found out this moring, or anticipated that, but didn't really change much. The plays we saw in preparation were still applicable, just not as much scrambling work that we had to be concerned about with the quarterback."
On Riley Nelson's play:
"I liked it. I thought he made good decisions, and I thought he played with a lot of heart, and I thought he gave us a chance to win."
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