NORMAN — It was the most anticipated game of the season for Oklahoma. No. 5 Notre Dame visiting Memorial Field for the first since 1966, the eyes of the college football world were upon them.
Instead of coming out with their best performance of the year, the eighth-ranked Sooners once again fell short on the big stage with a 30-13 loss to the Irish Saturday.
“It sucks,” Oklahoma’s Tony Jefferson said. “This one hurts. But we have to show some character and turn it around. We have still have five games left.”
The loss likely kills any chances OU had of making a run at a BCS title. But it’s the fact they didn’t play their best when the nation was watching that really upsets the Sooners.
“Just real disappointed that we lost,” senior Tom Wort said. “It hurts as much as any loss. But to see them celebrate on your field at the end of the game, that’s what hurts the most.”
Before the game even started, the campus of the University of Oklahoma had transformed into a mini city with OU and Notre Dame fans flooding Norman from across the country.
“It really is special,” OU athletic director Joe Castiglione said. “There were students camping out here last night. The excitement is everywhere. The town is buzzing. We’ve always had maybe the third biggest city in the state on game days normally. But I think we’re going to more than double the population that we normally have. Just because of the amount of people who have come just to be part of the atmosphere.”
Part of the excitement revolved around the return of ESPN College GameDay. It had been four years since the show had profiled a game from Norman and thousands of students and fans packed the South Oval to be part of the 3-hour show Saturday morning.