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South Bend, Ind. • Thousands of BYU fans didn't miss the Cougars' first visit to Notre Dame Stadium since 2005 on Saturday afternoon.

BYU fans flooded the bookstore on campus hours before kickoff, buying souvenirs and mementos to remember their trip and could be seen walking throughout South Bend, taking in the school's famous landmarks.

Among those was Christian Oldroyd of Alpine, who made the trip with about 10 friends.

"As soon as this game was put on the schedule, we started saving for it," Oldroyd said. "So far, it is everything that everybody said it was."

Almost every BYU fan who spoke to The Salt Lake Tribune before the game raved about the famous Irish hospitality.

"We could learn a lot from them in terms of sportsmanship and friendliness," said Craig Spafford of Bountiful. "We haven't heard one negative comment from these [Notre Dame] fans."

BYU officials said they were allotted 5,000 tickets and sold all but a few before Saturday.

Rees starts for Irish

After a week of speculation regarding who would start at quarterback for Notre Dame, coach Brian Kelly went with junior Tommy Rees. Sophomore Everett Golson had started every game except one this season, but he suffered a concussion in last week's 20-13 win over Stanford and did not practice until later in the week.

Rees came in as the so-called backup, but he still has extensive experience, having thrown for more than 4,000 yards in his career. The Irish drove to BYU's 16 on their first possession, but Kyle Brindza missed a 40-yard field goal.


Golf legend Nick Faldo watched the game from the press box. ... Temperature at kickoff was 55 degrees, with 14 mph winds. "In other words, perfect football weather," said ND's public address announcer.

Twitter: @drewjay —

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