“In that game, we did throw it well. We did take advantage of what they were doing and move the ball throwing it,” he said. “But again, as much as anything, that game’s what, 10-6, going into the fourth quarter and ends up 13-13, and then they made every play after that, whether it be the interception, the long pass, whatever. Anyway, we’ll need to run it better.”
They’ll need to because throwing short passes only gets an offense so far against quality opponents. If you want to score touchdowns in the red zone, it requires the toughness to impose your will.
Offensively, OU couldn’t do it last season. It got in the red zone four times, scoring one touchdown and kicking two field goals. Notre Dame did impose its will. Both of those fourth-quarter touchdown were red zone scores.
“The most important thing from last year was who controlled the line of scrimmage and that was obviously them,” OU center Gabe Ikard said. “We didn’t rush the ball well at all. They started to wear us out. It’s one of those things where that’s our focus now is establishing and controlling the line of scrimmage.”
Some of the personnel from last year’s game have changed. Both teams have different quarterbacks. Notre Dame no longer has Mantei Te’o at middle linebacker.
But the difference between winning and losing will likely come down to which team wins in the trenches Saturday. The Sooners believe they are better on both sides of the ball in that area this season.
They’ll know for sure Saturday.
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