Notre Dame finally gave up a rushing touchdown this season, but that was about all for Oklahoma as the Fighting Irish upset the Sooners 30-13 Saturday night at Oklahoma Memorial Stadium in Norman, OK. The win keeps the Irish perfect on the season and now puts them at least into the top four of the BCS and legitimize their national championship aspirations.
Everett Golson returned to the lineup after missing last week due to a concussion and played the best game of his career going 13-for-25 for 177 yards and rushing for 64 yards and a touchdown. Running backs Theo Riddick and Cierre Wood each rushed for 74 yards and a score as well.
Oklahoma started as a ball of fire to begin the game going no-huddle and up-tempo to try to keep the Notre Dame defense on their heels. They moved into Irish territory on their opening drive before an errant snap pushed them back and forced a punt. The Irish couldn’t do anything on their first drive either and the Sooners would strike on their next possession with a 28-yard field goal from Michael Hunnicutt to give Oklahoma the early 3-0 lead.
The lead would be short-lived however as on Notre Dame’s second play on their next drive, Cierre Wood ran up the middle and took it 62 yards for the score and a 7-3 Irish lead. It was the longest run of the season for Notre Dame.
The Irish would increase the lead in the second quarter with a 34-yard field goal from Kyle Brindza, but the Sooners responded with a 30-yarder from Hunnicutt right before half to make it a 10-6 Notre Dame lead at halftime.
Brindza would miss a field goal on ND’s first possession of the second half, but made up for it with a 44-yarder to open the fourth quarter to give Notre Dame a 13-6 advantage. After a pair of punts, Oklahoma finally put together a drive going 52 yards in seven plays leading to Blake Bell’s one-yard touchdown run to tie the game. It was the first rushing touchdown given up by the Irish this season.
Notre Dame, however, wouldn’t back away. A huge 50-yard pass to Chris Brown moved them deep into Sooner territory and five plays later, Golson would run it in from a yard out to give ND a 20-13 lead.
On Oklahoma’s next drive, another huge play as Manti Te’o picked off a tipped pass at the Sooner 45 to give it right back to the Irish. Notre Dame would work some clock and get a 45-yard field goal from Brindza to increase the lead to 10.
After Oklahoma turned the ball over on downs, Notre Dame would put the game away with a 15-yard touchdown run from Riddick to make the final 30-13.
The Sooners were able to put up 364 yards of offense through the air, but only 15 yards rushing as the Irish defense once again shut down an opponent’s offense.
Notre Dame improves to 8-0 for the first time since 2002 and get set to host Pittsburgh next Saturday. Oklahoma slips to 5-2 overall and get back into Big 12 play next week at Iowa State.