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BYU706013
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23


BYU (7-3) at Notre Dame (7-3)



The Sports Network

DATE & TIME: Saturday, November 23, 3:30 p.m. (et)

FACTS & STATS: Site: Notre Dame Stadium (80,795) -- Notre Dame, Indiana. Television: NBC. Home Record: BYU 5-1, Notre Dame 4-1. Away Record: BYU 2-2, Notre Dame 2-2. Neutral Record: BYU 0-0, Notre Dame 1-0. Conference Record: BYU 0-0, Notre Dame 0-0. Series Record: Notre Dame leads, 5-2.

GAME NOTES: The Notre Dame Fighting Irish will try to climb back into the Top 25 as they host the BYU Cougars at Notre Dame Stadium for a matchup between the top Independent programs in the FBS.

BYU bounced back from a 10-point loss at Wisconsin and improved to 7-3 last week with a 59-13 rout of FCS foe Idaho State. The Cougars have won six of their last seven games and became bowl eligible for the ninth consecutive campaign in the process. If not selected for a BCS Bowl, the Cougars have already accepted a spot in the Fight Hunger Bowl in San Francisco on Dec. 27.

The Fighting Irish dropped out of the Top 25 after their 28-21 loss to Pittsburgh at Heinz Field on Nov. 9, which snapped a four-game win streak. The setback to the Panthers prevented Brian Kelly from becoming the first coach in the school's storied history to win at least eight games in each of his first four seasons. Notre Dame has managed to compile a 7-3 record despite having all 11 of its starters on the defensive side of the ball missing at least two games due to injuries.

The Fighting Irish return from their open week hoping to build on a 17-14 win last year that was their second in a row and the third in the last four meetings versus the Cougars. Notre Dame holds a 5-2 edge in the all-time series as a result of its back-to-back victories.

Idaho State was no match for BYU last week as the Cougars' 59 points were the most the school has registered in a single game since Oct. 10, 2009. Six different players scored a touchdown in the game while Jamaal Williams tied his career-high with three rushing scores to bring his season total to six. BYU's outstanding performance versus the FCS opponent was not due to its inferior competition, as it has been exceptional all season to rank 12th in the FBS in rushing offense with 265.4 yards per game. The Cougars are also 13th among FBS programs in total offense at 503.7 ypg.

Taysom Hill has started all 10 games under center and spearheaded the charge en route to 3,335 yards of total offense, which is already the third most by a sophomore in school history. His average of 333.5 total yards per game ranks eighth nationally and his 956 rushing yards are the second most by a signal caller and 27th most among FBS players in 2013. Williams is only five spots behind Hill with 940 yards in just nine games.

Despite missing two games, senior wideout Cody Hoffman is still the team's leading receiver with 38 catches for 664 yards and five touchdowns. Sophomore Mitch Mathews (23 catches, 397 yards, four TDs) does not have his number called as often, but usually provides a few big plays per outing.

Equally important to BYU's success has been its impressive defensive unit, which allows just 21 ppg to rank 23rd nationally. The Cougars have a solid leader in Uani' Unga, who averages over 10 tackles per game and is one of just 15 players in the FBS with over 100 stops on the season. Linebacker Kyle Van Noy is also an impact player as he has registered 26 career sacks, which is the second most in the nation among active players.

The Fighting Irish's offense is not quite as explosive as BYU's attack, but they still have decent averages of 28.2 points and 404.9 total yards per game. Notre Dame's run for a return to the BCS national title game was hindered over the offseason when last season's starting quarterback Everett Golson was suspended. He passed for 2,405 yards and 12 touchdowns as a redshirt freshman last season and rushed for 298 yards and another six scores.

Golson may be back in the fold at some point as he applied for readmission to Notre Dame this week. The Fighting Irish had a serviceable replacement in Tommy Rees, who has started all 10 games under center. The senior quarterback had a tough outing versus the Panthers as he completed just 18-of-39 passes for 318 yards and two touchdowns along with two costly interceptions in the fourth frame. Rees has completed a career-low 54.6 percent of his throws for 2,504 yards and 24 TDs. His total of interceptions has grown to 10 after being picked off twice in his last two outings.

The Irish received another solid contribution versus Pittsburgh from T.J. Jones, who caught six passes for 149 yards and a touchdown, while adding 41 yards and another score on three carries. Jones also lost a fumble as the team tallied only 355 total yards. Notre Dame has a decent running back tandem in George Atkinson, III. and Cam McDaniel. The duo is combining for just over 100 ypg and both have scored three times on the ground.

Kelly's defensive unit has been strong throughout the 2013 slate to limit the opposition to only 369 total yards of offense and 23.5 points per outing. Notre Dame surrendered 28 points to the Panthers its last time out, although the Panthers were held to only 355 total offensive yards. Senior linebacker Carlo Calabrese has been the most consistent member of the unit with an average of 6.9 tackles per game, 5.5 TFL and a pair of sacks in 10 games.

The Irish would still be ranked if their offense could have avoided miscues in the Steel City. They will lose their second game in a row if they continue to commit turnovers, as BYU's offense needs to be kept on the sidelines as much as possible.

Sports Network Predicted Outcome: BYU 31, Notre Dame 28

11/20 10:40:31 ET

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Scoreboard
Local
Final
CAR 17
CLE 13
Final
NYR 1
CAR 0
Final
TOR 118
NYK 108
Final
CLE 105
MEM 91
Final
MIA 100
BOS 84
Final
BRK 110
DET 105
Final
SAC 108
LAL 101
Final
ORL 88
PHI 96
Final
WAS 92
PHO 104
Final
MIN 96
IND 100
Final
OKC 99
NOP 101
Final
UVA 76
HARV 27
Final
BGU 68
FERST 82
 
Final
ARMY 72
MAINE 69
 
Final
QUIN 60
ORST 52
Final
CLST 69
USF 65
 
Final
CARK 55
CCAR 72
 
Final
UWGB 66
ARKLR 46
 
Final
RAD 74
CORN 61
 
Final
UNT 62
CREI 58
Final
CAN 67
HC 48
 
Final
USB 67
GHND 52
 
Final
OKST 64
MD 73
Final
WINT 100
REIN 72
 
Final
UGST 68
SMISS 55
Final
NEOM 77
TXPA 72
 
Final
STLU 58
VERM 55
 
Final
UNCA 62
WCU 66
 
Final
EVAN 81
ALAST 63
 
Final
HART 82
FIU 69
 
Final
VALPO 82
GOSHEN 55
 
Final
LIP 69
PEAY 63
 
Final
DEN 46
BRY 48
 
Final
MONT 62
SD 67
 
Final
MTST 65
TENST 47
Final
SAMF 64
LAMON 50
 
Final
SCAR 78
COKR 52
 
Final
HAMP 75
NARZ 66
 
Final
SDU 71
SDCHR 61
 
Final
BC 71
USC 75
Final
NICST 64
TROY 65
 
Final
BRAD 47
UCI 55
 
Final
UGA 65
SHU 47
Final
ALA 60
APP 59
Final
KSU 53
NDST 52
 
Final
WASU 82
SJST 53
2nd
UTEP 51
ALCOR 17
 
1st
SEAT 23
SACST 14
 
Final
DET 1
COL 2
Final
EDM 5
DAL 6
Final
BOS 4
BUF 3
Final
NYR 1
CAR 0
Final
CHI 4
TOR 0
2nd
WIN 3
PHI 1
 
Final
NOS 14
ATL 30
Final
HOU 25
BAL 13
Final
CAR 17
CLE 13
Final
CHI 14
DET 20
Final
TAM 3
GBP 20
Final
PIT 20
KAN 12
Final
MIA 37
MIN 35
Final
NYJ 16
NEP 17
Final
STL 27
NYG 37
Final
OAK 26
BUF 24
Final
DAL 42
IND 7
3rd
ARI 3
SEA 14