The Norman Transcript

September 28, 2013

Sooners top Notre Dame

By John Shinn
The Norman Transcript

SOUTH BEND, Ind. — Oklahoma and Notre Dame had met 10 previous times and it always seemed like the luck belonged to Irish. That wasn’t the case Saturday afternoon at Notre Dame Stadium.

The 14th-ranked Sooners (4-0) rolled to a 35-21 victory over No. 22 Notre Dame by capitalizing on every opportunity they had.

It was evident from the game’s third snap. OU linebacker Corey Nelson snagged a wounded duck from Notre Dame quarterback Tommy Rees and returned it 24 yards for a touchdown.

The play gave OU the lead and set the tone for the day. Rees was picked off three times, while OU quarterback Blake Bell was 22 for 30 for 232 yards and a pair of touchdown passes. He also rushed for 59 yards on 12 carries.

The turnovers OU came up with and the ability to run the ball were the biggest difference from the meeting the teams had last year in Norman. The Irish ran the ball down OU’s throat and never turned it over.

The Sooners rushed for 212 yards Saturday — 197 more than they did in the meeting last season.

OU built a 14-point halftime lead on Lacoltan Bester’s 26-yard touchdown catch with 42 seconds left in the first half. The only thing Notre Dame had going was big plays and it used two of the them to stay in the game until early in the fourth quarter.

George Atkinson III rushed for 148 yards on 14 carries with 80 yards coming on a touchdown run early in the third quarter that made it a one-possession game. Rees, who was just 9 for 24 for 104 yards on the day, hit tight end Troy Niklas for 30-yard touchdown with 14:10 remaining.

That hookup made it a six-point game. But it was the last bit of offense the Irish had.

The Sooners didn’t give up a first down in the fourth quarter and they answered with Blake Bell’s 54-yard touchdown pass to Sterling Shepard.