"I think Notre Dame's offensive line is a little more athletic," Poppinga said. "Maybe not quite as big as Wisconsin, but a little more athletic. And maybe even a little more physical. They push guys around, do a good job getting a push at the line of scrimmage."
The down linemen in BYU's 3-4 scheme Bronson Kaufusi, Eathyn Manumaleuna and Remington Peck are mostly healthy, but the linebacking corps is thin after the loss of Spencer Hadley. The senior suffered a knee injury on the fifth play against Wisconsin and will not play Saturday.
Notre Dame wore down the BYU defense in the second half en route to a 17-14 win last year.
"Our defense needs to play with confidence and go in there and have fun," Poppinga said. "Last year, that's what we did for the first half. We have to play a whole game this time because we played great in the first half. The second half, they did some things to get some yards on us."
Former Cougar dies
Former BYU offensive lineman Nick Longshore died Wednesday from injuries sustained in an ATV accident near Idaho Falls, Idaho. Longshore was on BYU's roster from 2004 to 2006. He redshirted in 2004 after arriving from Canyon High in Santa Clarita, Calif.
Longshore and his wife, Caroline, who is pregnant with the couple's second child, lived in the northern Utah town of West Haven.
Longshore signed with Cal State Northridge out of high school, but the football program was eliminated while he was on an LDS Church mission in the Philippines from 2000 to 2002. He played at College of the Canyons before transferring to BYU.
Kelly announced Thursday that star defensive tackle Louis Nix III underwent surgery for a torn meniscus in his knee and is out for the season. Former BYU recruit Kona Schwenke and Jarron Jones will share the snaps at nose guard Saturday. ... Wet, wintry weather conditions are expected in South Bend. The Cougars have scored points in 122 consecutive games, and have not been shut out since a 3-0 loss to Utah in a blizzard in 2003. BYU has scored in 481 of its last 482 games since 1975.
BYU at Notre Dame, 1:30 p.m. MST
TV • NBC