Oklahoma Sooners: Notre Dame Fighting Irish
Those are the Big 12’s major storylines for Week 5:
SMU at TCU, noon ET (FS1): The Horned Frogs spent the off week trying to correct an offense that was a mess in a loss to Texas Tech in Lubbock. Look for TCU to try to come out running the offense through B.J. Catalon and Waymon James, who form one of the better one-two punches at running back in the Big 12. This is TCU's only real opportunity to get the offense back on track before the schedule gets tough again, beginning next weekend with a trip to Norman, Okla.
Oklahoma State at West Virginia, noon (ESPN): The Cowboys go into Morgantown, W.Va., with confidence, but they have to be at least a little concern with QB Clint Trickett getting his first chance to spark the offense. The Mountaineers have been solid defensively so far this year, and if Trickett can hit some plays downfield in the passing game, this game could get interesting. Then again, if the West Virginia offense keeps doing what it has been doing, this game could get ugly quickly.
Oklahoma at Notre Dame, 3:30 p.m. (NBC): The Sooners have the chance to vanquish their Notre Dame demons from the past while showing the country they might have been overlooked during the preseason national championship conversation. The key will be whether the Oklahoma offensive line can hold its own this time against Notre Dame defensive linemen Stephon Tuitt and Louis Nix III. If the Sooners can run the ball effectively and Blake Bell keeps putting passes on the money, Oklahoma could walk out of South Bend, Ind., with its first victory over the Irish in 57 years.
Sooners fail to convert on third-and-3 at Notre Dame 11-yard line
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Fifth-ranked Notre Dame sent a message to the rest of college football with a 30-13 win over No. 8 Oklahoma at Oklahoma Memorial Stadium on Saturday night. Here's a closer look at what happened and what it means for both teams.
How the game was won: In the trenches. Notre Dame shut down OU’s run game while rushing for 215 yards of its own. The Fighting Irish offensive and defensive lines manhandled the Sooners as Notre Dame improved to 8-0.
The game was over when: Irish kicker Kyle Brindza hit a 46-yard field goal to give Notre Dame a 23-13 lead with 3:22 remaining. The Irish tacked on a late touchdown to win by 17 points.
Turning point: After OU tied the game at 13 midway through the fourth quarter, the Irish stormed back on their next possession, sparked by a 50-yard reception from Chris Brown. It was a remarkable response to the Sooners. Everett Golson’s 1-yard touchdown run capped the drive and secured the win.
Stat of the game: 0.6. That’s the yards-per-carry average for Oklahoma. The Irish run defense was highly regarded when they arrived in Norman. And they didn’t disappoint, holding OU to 15 yards on 24 carries.
Player of the game: Manti Te’o. The Notre Dame linebacker was all over the field for the Irish. He sealed the victory with his fourth-quarter interception and finished the game with 11 tackles, one sack and one interception. He played like a Heisman candidate, leaving his mark on the game with his aggression and hustle.
Unsung hero of the game: Golson. The redshirt freshman quarterback showed exceptional maturity and savvy. He made plays when they were there, tossed the ball out of bounds when they weren't. He finished 13-of-25 for 177 yards with zero turnovers and added 11 rushes for 64 yards and one touchdown. He didn't play like a first-year player.
What Notre Dame learned: Brian Kelly’s rebuilding job appears to be nearing completion. Programs are built on wins like this. With a road win against the Sooners, Kelly’s team made its case earn a spot in the BCS title game. And, at the very least, Irish fans must be thrilled with the progress of Kelly’s program during his third season in South Bend.
What Oklahoma learned: Winning home games against top-25 opponents isn’t as easy as it seemed under Bob Stoops. After heading into the season undefeated against top-25 teams at Oklahoma Memorial Stadium under Stoops, the Sooners suffered their second loss to a Top-25 opponent this year. No. 3 Kansas State knocked off the Sooners on Sept. 22.
What it means: The Irish are for real. Notre Dame is making a strong case to rise to No. 2 in the BCS standings. With wins over Stanford, Michigan, Michigan State and OU, the Irish have a solid résumé and can make a case for a spot in the BCS title game.
Robinson, who also holds offers from Notre Dame, Clemson, South Carolina, Oklahoma, Georgia and Tennessee, had a chance to meet with Florida offensive coordinator Brent Pease while on his visit.
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Here's how they did it:
Our methodology was simple: We re-tallied the scores following signing day and ranked the schools based on total number of ESPNU 150 recruits (there have been 900) hauled in over the last six years. Of course, like success on the field, recruiting is cyclical -- and fans of programs both on and off this list might look back on Feb. 1, 2012 as the day their team began its rise (or fall) on the trail.
Here's the top-10:
5. Florida State
6. Notre Dame
T-10. Ohio State
Here's what it says about Oklahoma:
Top states: Texas (14), Oklahoma (seven)
Surprise state: California (three)
Oklahoma continues to reel in the relatively small amount of ESPNU 150 talent produced in the Sooner State, signing its top two 2012 recruits: WR Sterling Shepard (Oklahoma City) and RB Alex Ross (Jenks). That puts the Sooners at 7-for-13 since 2007. Bob Stoops also went into Florida (No. 2 OC Ty Darlington of Apopka) and Missouri (WR Durron Neal of St. Louis) for the first time in the past six years.
Spring Game Wrap-Up
BIG 12 SCOREBOARD
TBD North Dakota State Iowa State TBD Louisiana Tech Oklahoma TBD North Texas Texas TBD Stephen F. Austin Kansas State TBD Samford TCU TBD Central Arkansas Texas Tech 3:30 PM ET West Virginia Alabama 8:00 PM ET Florida State Oklahoma State