This game gave Notre Dame a unique opportunity to choose the trajectory of their season. A victory would show that they belong in the BCS discussion. A loss would tend to make fans believe that this is a mediocre football team. This is similar to the game last year. When Notre Dame beat Oklahoma, they proved that they were National Title contender.
So, Notre Dame is mediocre.
Turnovers and penalties haunted Notre Dame today as they were defeated 35-21.
The Irish for the forth game in a row started off the game slow. Not only did they start the game slow, they started in reverse as Corey Nelson intercepted a Tommy Rees pass and returned it for a touchdown. On the very next play, Rees was intercepted again. Oklahoma scored 4 plays later on a Damien Williams 11 yard run. The Irish were in a 14-0 hole. This situation was similar for the Irish. They were down 10-0 to both Michigan and Purdue.
Notre Dame struck back one drive later on a Tommy Rees touchdown pass to TJ Jones. However, just when the Irish thought they were out of a hole, they dug themselves back into one. Notre Dame allowed Oklahoma to go 88 yards for a touchdown to end the half. The drive was aided by a personal foul penalty against Kona Schwenke. Not for doing anything against Oklahoma but for continuing to play after his helmet was knocked off by an Oklahoma Offensive Linemen.
Notre Dame jumped back in the game immediately on a 80 yard George Atkinson touchdown run. Oklahoma kicked two field goals to make the score 27-14 at the conclusion of the 3rd Quarter.
Tommy Rees then hit a wide open Troy Niklas for a 30-yard touchdown pass. The Irish were only down 6 points and were in complete control of the moment. However, on a 3rd and 3, Blake Bell hit Sterling Shepard for a 54 yard touchdown pass. Shepard beat Jarret Grace on the play. The match up is a complete mismatch.
At this point, Notre Dame was forced to throw the ball, which was something they were unable to execute today. They were an anemic 9 of 25 passing for 104 yards with 1 touchdown and 3 interceptions.
Will Brian Kelly look to Andrew Hendrix to move his Offense along? It probably would not be any better but Tommy Rees is a combined 23-59 (38.9%) for 246 yards passing. The bottom has completely fallen out for Tommy Rees. He is mentally tough player and will likely recover but the question begs to be asked.
The one and only positive from today’s game was Notre Dame’s ability to run the ball. It is not every day that a team runs for 220 yards and loses. But, the Irish can take this progress into the rest of the season.