Five things: Oklahoma at Notre Dame
September, 28, 2013
By Brandon Chatmon | ESPN.com
Here’s what we’ll be watching when Oklahoma travels to Notre Dame (3:30 p.m., NBC).
Sooners running game: OU has started the season with a improved running game, averaging more rushing yards per game (271.67) than passing yards (218.67). Yet the Sooners ran the ball well against average teams a year ago before being shut down against the Irish. Will the same thing happen again?
Blake Bell in his first road start: The Sooners quarterback has more game experience than most quarterbacks with one start, a point the OU coaches mentioned this week. Yet nobody knows how Bell will respond when asked to operate the Sooners' regular offense in a hostile road environment.
OU’s defense gets a chance to prove itself: The Sooners defense has been very good this season, allowing just 4.6 yards per play through the first three games. OU’s new aggressive approach will be tested for the first time by a physical, running offense in ND.
Speaking of defense: OU has used primarily a three-man front in its first three games, yet expect the Sooners to use a four-man front quite a bit against the Irish. The Sooners’ three-man setup is ideal against the Big 12 spread attacks they will face this season, but a four-man defensive front is better equipped to hold up to what the Irish bring to the table. Defensive coordinator Mike Stoops wanted his defense to be more versatile this season, so this game could determine if it actually is.
Sooners offense looking for big plays: OU had offensive success against Notre Dame last season but couldn’t make any big plays. The Sooners also struggled to break the big play in their first two games of 2013 before six pass plays of 20 yards or more against Tulsa. The Sooners will need at least one explosive play if they hope to beat the Irish.
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BIG 12 SCOREBOARD
Final Washington State 45 Colorado State 48 Final 20 Fresno State 20 25 USC 45 Final Buffalo 24 San Diego State 49 Final Tulane 21 Louisiana-Lafayette 24
Final Pittsburgh 30 Bowling Green 27 Final Utah State 21 23 Northern Illinois 14
Final Marshall 31 Maryland 20 Final Syracuse 21 Minnesota 17 Final Brigham Young 16 Washington 31
Final Rutgers 16 Notre Dame 29 Final Cincinnati 17 North Carolina 39 Final Miami (FL) 9 18 Louisville 36 Final Michigan 14 Kansas State 31
Final Middle Tennessee 6 Navy 24 Final Ole Miss 25 Georgia Tech 17 Final 10 Oregon 30 Texas 7 Final 14 Arizona State 23 Texas Tech 37
Final Arizona 42 Boston College 19 Final Virginia Tech 12 17 UCLA 42 Final Rice 7 Mississippi State 44 Final 24 Duke 48 21 Texas A&M 52
Final Nebraska 24 22 Georgia 19 Final UNLV 14 North Texas 36 Final Iowa 14 16 LSU 21 Final 19 Wisconsin 24 9 South Carolina 34 Final 5 Stanford 20 4 Michigan State 24 Final 15 UCF 52 6 Baylor 42
Final 13 Oklahoma State 31 8 Missouri 41 Final 12 Clemson 40 7 Ohio State 35