There were several positives for Notre Dame in victory over Oklahoma on Saturday night. Here are some of them:
Offense Comes Out Of Their Shell
Notre Dame gained 403 yards Saturday night against a good Oklahoma defense that was 16th in the country for yards against. The question mark was the Notre Dame offense coming into the game and it was the exclamation point after the clock hit 0. The Irish threw for 188 and ran the ball for 215. Golson had most of the passing yards with 177, while Tommy was 1-1 for 11 yards. As for the rushing attack without GAIII, still effective Cierre Wood had 7 carries for 74 yards and a touchdown (62 yards), Theo Riddick carried the ball 19 times for 74 yards and a touchdown, Robby Toma had 1 carry for 5 yards, and lastly Golson carried the ball 11 times for 64 yards and a touchdown. Notre Dame controlled the 3rd quarter having the ball for all but 4 minutes of it. Then in the 4th quarter everyone could see that the Irish were wearing down the Sooners to put in two more touchdowns and a field goal to preserve the victory.
The game started off with Oklahoma firing on all cylinders and didn’t make a mistake until the center snapped the ball when Jones went to audible a play that put them out of Irish territory and resulted in a punt. Coach Diaco’s bent not break pass defense scheme has worked once again, although it gives up a lot of easy yards on short passing plays especially comebacks. Oklahoma could not run the ball on the Irish only amounting to 15 total rushing yards for the game. Their leading rusher Damien Williams had 13 carries for 29 yards, with a long of 7. Blake Bell did score a rushing touchdown against the Irish (the first one ND has given up all year), but that was the only touchdown. The pass defense was another story. Landry Jones was 35-51 356 yards no touchdowns and 1 interception. Yes that is a lot of yardage given up, but when the field shortens, especially in the red zone the corners start to tighten up and Oklahoma’s passing game wasn’t existent. Notre Dame didn’t put a lot of pressure on Landry Jones, but they put enough to force some bad throws and made him uncomfortable. Notre Dame proved that they can handle a high powered offense and make adjustments throughout the game. The secondary must keep improving, but this is a good step forward.
Manti Te’o For Heisman
What else is there to say about this guy? He had himself a Heisman performance against Oklahoma. Te’o accounted for 11 tackles, 1 sack, and 1 incredible diving interception. Manti put a heck of a hit on Landry Jones for a sack, which formally introduced the two players. The interception and the sack were Heisman moments that will keep Te’o in the race for the trophy. It is now a realistic possibility with his inspiring play game in and game out.
Everett Golson grew up a lot Saturday night against a good Oklahoma defense. This was his coming out party and he played a consistently good game without turning over the ball and being a true dual threat quarterback. Not many people in college football besides Notre Dame fans know the strength of Golson’s arm, but that throw to the freshman Chris Brown was near perfect. His decision making to throw the ball away or scramble when he saw an opening were keys to the game. Many teams that have a good defense will have a “game manager” as a quarterback on, which is someone that doesn’t turn the ball over, but doesn’t put up huge numbers. Golson isn’t just a game manager; he is a game changer and will continue to improve as the season progresses.