Irish rally to remain unbeaten

Published 10:41 am Sunday, October 21, 2012

Notre Dame's Tyler Eifert hauls in a pass against BYU Saturday. The Irish rallied to edge the Cougars 17-14 to remain undefeated. (Leader photo/KELLY SWEENEY)

NOTRE DAME – For the first time since 2002, the Notre Dame Fighting Irish improved to 7-0 with a 17-14 victory over visiting Brigham Young University Saturday.

The Irish, who have been dominating opponents this season with their defense, found themselves trailing by a touchdown at halftime for the second straight week, but once again they would rally in the second half to pull out the victory.

Notre Dame came into the game not having allowed an offensive touchdown in 16 straight quarters and it extended that streak to 17 as it kept the Cougars out of the end zone in the first quarter.

Leading 7-0 after one period on a Tyler Eifert touchdown reception, the Irish defense allowed BYU to move deep into Notre Dame territory. After stopping the Cougars on two consecutive plays, the Irish forced BYU into a third-and-goal from the 6-yard line before the defense allowed its first touchdown since Sept. 8th.

Cougars quarterback Riley Nelson connected with Cody Hoffman in the back of the end zone tying the game at 7-7.

After a Tommy Rees’ interception gave the Cougars the ball at the Notre Dame 30-yard line, Hoffman found Kaneakua Friel for a 2-yard score giving the Cougars the 14-7 lead they would take to the intermission.

The second half saw the Irish defense come to life as they held the Cougars to just 108 yards of offense, but more importantly they kept the Cougars off the scoreboard.

Trailing 14-7 the Irish found themselves with a first-and-goal from the Cougars 8-yard line, but only managed to come away with a field goal cutting the score to 14-10.

In the final period the Fighting Irish offense methodically drove the ball 72 yards and George Atkinson capped the drive with a 2-yard touchdown run to give the Irish the lead and the victory.

While the defense allowed two offensive touchdowns in the first half, it was still the story of the game as it held BYU’s offense to less than 300 yards, forced two interceptions and sacked Nelson four times.

The Irish and their top five-ranked defense will face potentially their toughest opponent of the season next week when they travel to Norman, Okla. to face the Sooners.