Scott G Winterton, Deseret News
ATLANTA — Three of BYU's four losses this season have been decided by a total of seven points.
The Cougars know that had a handful of plays gone their way, they could have a much better record than their 4-4 mark.
"(Close games) hurt more, knowing that you're right there and one, two or three plays are the difference," said coach Bronco Mendenhall.
Three of BYU's four defeats have been on the road, with two of those coming against ranked opponents.
"We're playing good teams and we're playing them on the road," Mendenhall continued. "It's kind of the next era. When I started this job, and to where it is now, expectations are even higher. The schedule is more demanding. We're playing better football against better teams. That's just what's coming next. I welcome it. But we have to also execute at an even higher level."
What's the key to winning the close games?
"Finishing at the end and making more plays in the third and fourth quarter than the other team," said linebacker Brandon Ogletree. "That's what we didn't do against Notre Dame. They made more plays than we did. As a defense, we had a few chances to get them off the field and we didn't. We missed tackles. We missed opportunities, really. When those chances come around, we've got to seize them and play better. I don't know what the secret is to it, but hopefully we'll figure it out."
"That's all we have to hope for — is that we can make one or two or three more plays," said tight end Kaneakua Friel. "That's going to determine the difference in close games."
WHERE TO FIND THE GAME: The BYU-Georgia Tech game will be broadcast by ROOT Sports, which can be found in Utah on Comcast (Ch. 52/693), DirecTV (Ch. 684) and Dish Network (Ch. TBD).
For additional information, see Rootsports.com.
IN THE REARVIEW MIRROR: BYU is coming off a tough 17-14 setback at Notre Dame. Have there been lingering effects of that loss this week?
No, according to Ogletree.
"That Notre Dame game is already a million miles away," he said. "We have lots of work to do. There's plenty of other stuff to focus on."
PRAISE FOR JAMAAL: Mendenhall is pleased with the performance of true freshman running back Jamaal Williams, who turned in a solid effort against the Fighting Irish last weekend.
"He's coming along," Mendenhall said. "He's just a true freshman. If anything, he's scratching the surface. So he has a long ways to go, but a nice start."
THE SERIES: The all-time series between BYU and Georgia Tech is tied, 1-1. Saturday will mark the first meeting between the two teams since the 2003 season-opener, a 24-13 win for the Cougars in Provo. In 2002, the Yellow Jackets defeated BYU, 28-19, in Atlanta.
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