And Walsh was the catalyst.
He followed that pick-six with a 55-yard touchdown bomb to David Glidden early in the second half, then scrambled for 24-yard score early in the fourth quarter to cut the deficit to three points.
But his flip-and-fumble late in the fourth was catastrophic.
“They made some mistakes,” Gundy said. “But they made some mistakes going full speed. That’s the future of your program.”
Gundy was reassured that the weaknesses of his program aren’t in effort. Without watching tape, he said all three phases – minus a number of miscues on special teams – went in with the right game plan to be successful. But those mistakes are magnified when playing the defending national champion.
The takeaway was clear Saturday night. The Cowboys weren’t afraid of the big stage, even when it seemed as if they were falling apart early.
“We feel good about where we’re at,” Walsh said. “We’re upset about the loss, but going into film tomorrow, there’s going to be a lot of good things to build on.”