South Bend, Ind. • Paul Lasike has played himself a lot of rugged games in a lot of rugged conditions, but he never had faced or felt what he did Saturday at Notre Dame Stadium: a combo-pack of freezing temperatures, arctic blasts, bands of lake-effect snow blowing over a football field where the hitting was as painful as the bitter cold.
At the end, the BYU rugby-player-turned-running back from New Zealand felt the hurt of a 23-13 loss.
But he was one of two Cougars to rush for more than 100 yards against the Irish, who don't often give up that kind of yardage. He and Taysom Hill got 101 yards on the ground. The difference was, it took Hill 24 rushing attempts to get his gains. It took Lasike just four carries, including one burst that went for 46 yards. If he'd had one more gear to shift into, it might have ended in a touchdown.
"When I got out there, it was like, 'Wow, this is kind of weird,' having corners chase you down," he said. "To me, I felt kind of slow to be out there. I wish Jamaal [Williams] was out there to get the touchdown, but it was a blast to be out here and help out.
"I thought it was rugby, but then I had all these pads on and I had a helmet on. I don't know what I'm doing, I'm just going to try to hold onto the ball and make sure I don't fumble as I try to get as many yards as possible."
Lasike was perhaps the brightest light for a BYU offense that managed some yards, but couldn't score enough to stay with the Irish.
The man who played three seasons of rugby for the Cougars, and so far just two of football, called those unfulfilled opportunities "a bummer."
Lasike, though, did what he could.
"I was really impressed with Paul. When he came in, I thought we were physical," Bronco Mendenhall said. "I thought we ran downhill. I thought he broke tackles. I thought he gave us a physical presence that was matching what Notre Dame was doing, and that was a real positive."
Strong ground game
BYU rushing yards • 247
Paul Lasike • 101
Taysom Hill • 101
Jamaal Williams • 43
Adam Hine • 2