p class="TEXT_w_Indent"> "And then the team having to choose and battle and respond to win the game, which is what they did in the second half.
And I am proud of them for that. Completely different team [in second half], not only in terms of emotion and effort, but execution. We made a ton of mistakes today in penalties, I don't know how many there were, but it seems like when we made them, they were in critical situations and so besides playing the game, our lack of playing clean made it harder to win. So it was hard to gain momentum and separate, so the game went right down to the end.
However, Taysom [Hill] especially, and Jamaal [Williams] running the football physically, I thought both those two, were the difference in the game."
Here's more from Mendenhall's postgame address:
On the mood in locker room at half-time:
"I didn't really assess the mood. I kind of maybe I was as mad as I have been as the coach at BYU. I didn't like the way they were playing. I didn't like their lack of, maybe just expecting it to happen. And it was a great lesson, because no on ever gives you anything in this life, nor in the season, You have to earn. it.
And the leadership of the team then took that message. That was really the difference. I just presented it they took it over, and we played better."
On whether it was a big relief to pull one out when they didn't play well:
"Oh sure. There are all kinds of different challenges during a season. When you put as much into what we thought was going to happen at Notre Dame, and came up short. Then you add that with school finishing, and then Thanksgiving, …. Please don't present these as excuses. This is just part of this week's challenge.