After a Week 2 loss at Michigan and unconvincing wins over Purdue and Michigan State, Notre Dame desperately needed a statement win at home against No. 14 Oklahoma Saturday. They were unable to do so, however, as the Sooners came in and handled the Irish easily, winning by a final score of 35-21.
Oklahoma got on the board early with the help of Notre Dame quarterback Tommy Rees. On the third play of the game, Rees threw an interception to Corey Nelson, who returned it 24 yards for the score. On the next play from scrimmage, Rees threw another interception, this time to Frank Shannon. Damien Williams scored on an 11-yard run just a few plays later, giving the Sooners a 14-0 lead.
Rees and the Irish fought back later, as the quarterback found T.J. Jones for a six-yard touchdown to bring it within a touchdown. Blake Bell threw a touchdown with less than a minute left in the half, as Oklahoma consistently responded throughout the game whenever Notre Dame scored, leading to the 35-21 final.
The Crimson & Cream Machine's M. Hofeld was impressed by the Sooners' defense in the win.
When the dust settled at Notre Dame Stadium we had the answers that we needed. Oklahoma's defense is fast. They are powerful up front and have a knack for getting to the ball. Six different defenders were credited with making plays in the Notre Dame backfield and the group was particularly good at tormenting Tommy Rees. The Irish quarterback was sacked once, hurried five other times, had six passes broken up, and was forced into three interceptions.
Paul Rigney of One Foot Down lamented the Irish's inability to play well in all facets of the game thus far this season.
There really hasn't been a game yet this season where Notre Dame has put together a complete game. The offense went stagnant and the defense got lazy against Temple, our defense struggled against Michigan and our offense struggled against Michigan State. Both units struggled against Purdue but did enough in the end to win. If the Irish want to finish the season strong, they really need to focus on putting together a complete game: Four quarters of sound defensive football, moving the ball well offensively and putting points on the board as well as minimizing turnovers and negative plays.