Aside from getting another shot at an opponent in the same season, it is about as close to a second chance as a football team can get. BYU makes a return visit to Notre Dame on Saturday, 13 months after losing 17-14 to the Irish last year in South Bend. Kickoff is at 1:30 p.m. MST and the game will be televised nationally by NBC.
Shortly after the Cougars dispatched Idaho State 59-13 on Saturday, they were talking about how eager they are to get another shot at Notre Dame. Even coach Bronco Mendenhall said he’s looking forward to it.
"I would like it to end up being a rivalry. That will happen once we do our part in winning enough games." Mendenhall said. "I felt a year ago that we had a great opportunity to win. I look forward to a hard-fought game year in and year out. I would like to play them as much as possible. I think the rivalry makes sense — it is not a rivalry — the game makes a lot of sense and has a lot of intrigue for college football, and I would love to play it on a yearly basis, if possible."
Here are a few more comments from BYU players about playing Notre Dame this week, stuff that I wasn’t able to work into Monday’s article:
Receiver Cody Hoffman on whether it is weird to still have 3 games left on Senior Day:
"Yeah, it is nice to be able to have a game like this, especially for the seniors who have been working their whole career, and they are finally getting a chance to play today, so I am really happy for them. I think it [was good in] keeping our starters fresh for next week when we go to Notre Dame."
Hoffman on playing at Notre Dame and not being in awe this year:
"I think it will take it away for some people. Like Taysom [Hill], he didn’t play in that game last year, so it will be new for him, but I feel like we are returning a lot of guys from last year, so I think we will have the confidence that we need going in there."
Linebacker Kyle Van Noy on what he will tell the younger guys like Taysom Hill about Notre Dame:
"Taysom has played in front of a big enough crowd, so I don’t think he will have a problem with it. It is just getting guys so they don’t get involved with everything else off the field and the environment. Hopefully everybody will keep their heads in it and be ready to play."
Defensive tackle Eathyn Manumaleuna, who was hurt last year and didn't make the trip, on whether going to ND will be easier this year because a lot of guys played there last year:
"Yeah. I wasn’t there personally. I was hurt. But it seems like recently that we just played them last year. So we will see. It is just another week to get better, and focus on a great team. It will be a great challenge."
Running back Jamaal Williams, who rushed for 64 yards and caught seven passes for 42 yards last year at Notre Dame Stadium:
"It is going to be great, I can’t wait to just go back and try to make a bigger impact this time and help the team get the ‘W’ … it got our mindset ready. Everybody is ready to go to South Bend and handle our business. It’s going to be a great test for us."
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