Published October 19, 2012
WHAT'S AT STAKE
The Fighting Irish, off to their best start in a decade, are hoping to stay focused and not get caught looking ahead to the game at No. 10 Oklahoma next week. Brigham Young's defense gave up 42 points in a loss last week to Oregon State, after going three games without allowing a touchdown, and will be looking to regroup against the Irish.
Notre Dame quarterbacks against Brigham Young secondary. Everett Golson has shown flashes of why coach Brian Kelly keeps him as the starter, but has struggled at times, as well. But Kelly says he'll wait until game time to decide whether Golson, who sustained a concussion against Stanford, is ready to go or whether he'll start Tommy Rees, who led the Irish to three wins in relief work, or Andrew Hendrix, who played late in a win over Navy, will start. BYU's secondary gave up a season-high 332 yards passing last week to Oregon State. Backup junior quarterback Cody Vaz passed for 332 yards and three touchdowns in his first start since high school.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Brigham Young: LB Kyle Van Noy could make it a long day for the Notre Dame quarterback. He has 7.5 sacks, 11.5 tackles for loss and 26 tackles overall. He also has five pass breakups, eight quarterback hurries, and has forced three fumbles.
Notre Dame: WR TJ Jones made a great winning catch in overtime against Stanford, finishing the game with four catches for 52 yards. Jones is second on the team in receptions with 19, one fewer than running back Theo Riddick. But the Irish are looking for a receiver to step forward and take some of the pressure off tight end Tyler Eifert, who has been the focus of opposing defenses.
FACTS & FIGURES
Notre Dame has won six of its last seven games decided by a touchdown or less. ... BYU's defense hasn't allowed a touchdown in four games this season. ... The Irish defense is forcing three-and-outs on 39.1 percent of all possessions. ... BYU, which lost to then-No. 10 Oregon State 42-24 last week, is playing top 10 teams in back-to-back weeks for the first time in school history. ... The Cougars last win against a top 5 team was a 14-13 victory over No. 3 Oklahoma in the 2009 season-opener. ... The last time Notre Dame was ranked in the top 5 and lost to an unranked team was a 14-7 defeat to Boston College in 2002, ending an eight-game winning streak. ... Notre Dame is averaging 4.5 million viewers a game on NBC, up 50 percent over last season.