In a stunning and brilliant fashion Saturday night under the bright lights and big stage of Oklahoma University, the Notre Dame Fighting (8-0) Irish propelled themselves further to a perfect season and BCS championship with a 30-13 win over the Sooners (7-2).
The mettle of the team was tested in the third quarter when the Fighting Irish were pinned up against their goal line leading by a touchdown,10-3. Oklahoma had just subbed in its feared back up QB Blake Bell to run its version of the wildcat, the dreaded “Belldozer”. Bell proceeded to bulldoze his way into the Notre Dame endzone for his ninth rushing touchdown on the season. But the luck of the Irish continued as the referees called a penalty for holding on the play and the touchdown was reversed.
The Notre Dame defense continued its streak of preventing opposing rushers in the blue and green end zone as well as preserving its perfect record. Manti T’eo added to his ever impressive Heisman resume and more against Oklahoma. In the second quarter on a 3rd down and 6th with his team leading 7-3 deep in Oklahoma territory, T’eo pounced on the qb for a sack breaking the OU moral. And later in the fourth quarter, in a miraculous play, an errant pass from Oklahome QB Jones hit off a receiver and landed softly into his outstretched hands of the captain to secure the team’s victory. Notre Dame lore now has its version of “the catch.” Oh, and he also registered 11 tackles (one for a loss) on the day.
Brian Kelly commented on the Heisman buzz surrounding his All-American (and seemingly All-World) linebacker T’eo.
"I tell you what, he represents all the things that the Heisman Trophy espouses -- integrity and character and a great football player. But I think Manti's more interested in beating Pittsburgh."
The blue and gold offense was golden and outshined that of the hyped hometeam’s. On only the second Notre Dame drive of the first quarter RB Cierre Wood broke a 65-yard run for a touchdown. Wood, the game’s leading rusher, amassed, 74 yards and one touchdown.
Despite his absence from the playing field and wavering confidence against a potentially punishing Oklahoma team and intimidating crowd, the Notre Dame head coach never lost hope in his Sophomore quarterback Everett Golson to lead his team. And Goldon did not let him or his teammates down, totalling 177 passing yards and 64 yards rushing yards, including the game’s decisive touchdown to pull the Irish ahead 19-13.
He even showed some newfound pluck. In the second quarter he got crushed on a running play by OU defender Tony Jefferson. The ND fans winced as he lay motionless and prayed Rees would come and once again save the game. Golson pulled himself off the turf, determined to finish out the biggest victory of his collegiate career on Saturday night and a record-making one for the Fighting Irish.
The Fighting Irish will return home next week to South bend to Play the 4-4 Pittsburgh Panthers.