Theo Riddick pounded his way for a career-high 143 yards and Cierre Wood added 114 yards as fifth-ranked Notre Dame overpowered a Brigham Young defense that entered the game third in the nation against the run, earning a 17-14 victory on Saturday.
Riddick had runs of 55 and 27 yards, the two longest rushes of his career, to pace Notre Dame (7-0), which is off to its best start in a decade and has a big game against No. 10 Oklahoma next week. The Cougars (4-4) fell to 0-3 on the road as they surrendered a season-high 270 yards rushing.
Backup quarterback Tommy Rees, starting in place of injured Everett Golson, completed six of seven passes in the first quarter for 86 yards and a touchdown, throwing four of those to Tyler Eifert. But Rees missed his next seven passes and the Irish attempted only three passes in the second half.
Rees' only completion of the second half was a 31-yard pass to TJ Jones with a little more than a minute left in the third quarter. Riddick ran the ball up the middle for 19 yards to the BYU 5. Three plays later, George Atkinson III scored on an end-around, cutting inside BYU safety Joe Sampson for the touchdown to give the Irish the 17-14 lead.
BYU had a chance to regain the lead on the next possession after an Irish penalty. On third-and-16 from the BYU 10, the Irish stopped BYU quarterback Riley Nelson. But nose guard Louis Nix III was called for grabbing Nelson's face mask.
The Cougars drove to the Notre Dame 31, but Nelson was sacked for a 9 yard loss. Moments earlier Cody Hoffman was wide open for what would have probably been a touchdown, but Nelson's pass wasn't close.
Nelson was 23 of 36 passing for 177 yards with two interceptions and two TD passes.