Each week, SoonerNation will rank Oklahoma’s top 10 performers of the season up to this point. The Sooners have a new No. 1 following a 30-13 defeat to Notre Dame.
1. S Tony Jefferson (Last week: No. 3): Once again, Jefferson led the Sooners in tackles, and nearly knocked Notre Dame QB Everett Golson out of the game with a vicious hit. Jefferson was OU’s best defensive player.
2. CB Aaron Colvin (1): Despite tight coverage, Colvin uncharacteristically allowed too many Notre Dame passes to be completed on him. Wasn’t his best night.
3. FB Trey Millard (2): The Sooners got the ball to Millard five times, but that only resulted in 19 yards. The Irish did a fine job limiting one of OU’s best – and most physical – offensive weapons.
4. QB Landry Jones (4): Jones wasn’t the reason the Sooners lost. He threw for 356 yards, and his only turnover bounced off the chest of the receiver. Could Jones have made more plays? Sure. But so could have a lot Sooners.
5. RB Damien Williams (5): Williams was rendered completely ineffective by Notre Dame’s front seven. He finished with just 29 yards rushing, his lowest total since taking over the starting job. He might not be 100 percent for awhile, either. Williams injured his ankle at the end of the game, and had to be helped to the sideline.
6: WR Jalen Saunders (NR): The loss sullied what was one of the best performance by an OU wideout in school history. Saunders set a school record with eight catches in the first quarter alone, and finished 15 for 181 yards receiving. Whenever the Sooners went to Saunders they moved the ball. When they went to the run, they didn’t.
7. QB Blake Bell (7): The Notre Dame defense hadn’t give up a rushing touchdown all season. To the Belldozer, the Irish nearly gave up two. Bell’s first half TD was negated by holding. But he came back in the second with a diving rush across the goal line. The play before, Bell executed a beautiful pass out of the Belldozer for a fourth-down conversion.
8. WR Kenny Stills (6): Stills’ antics at the end of the game were not his finest moment. But he still had a solid night with seven receptions for 86 yards.
9. C Gabe Ikard (8): Ikard had done a wonderful job keeping a wounded offensive line together. But the Sooners finally capitulated up front to a Notre Dame defensive line that is one of the best in the country.
10. WR Justin Brown (9): Brown had 48 yards receiving, but never got a chance to return a punt. The Irish did a magnificent job hanging punts in the air to take Brown’s return skills out of the equation.