Blue and Gold Illustrated

Oct. 7, 2013 Issue

Blue & Gold Illustrated: America's Foremost Authority on Notre Dame Football

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Picked Off Notre Dame is unable to overcome costly turnovers and an early deficit in a 35-21 loss to Oklahoma A By Andrew Owens year ago, on a crisp night in Norman, Okla., Notre Dame dominated the final nine min‑ utes against Oklahoma with timely plays to secure a signature vic‑ tory on the road. In this year's chapter of the rivalry, the Sooners won 35‑21 with a similar flurry, only theirs came in the first 2:45 of the contest after a pair of interceptions. On the game's third play, Oklahoma linebacker Eric Striker blitzed from Tommy Rees' blind side and hit the senior signal-caller as he was throwing a pass. The ball fluttered to linebacker Corey Nelson, who completed a 24yard interception return for a touch‑ down to give the Sooners a 7‑0 lead 49 seconds into the game. The Sooners (4-0) picked off Rees' next pass after he threw wide of senior receiver TJ Jones. The ball sailed past Jones' outstretched arm and tipped off the hands of cornerback Aaron Col‑ vin into the arms of linebacker Frank Shannon. Oklahoma marched 32 yards in four plays, culminating the ensuing drive with an 11-yard touchdown run by Damian Williams that put the Soon‑ ers up 14‑0. "You spot a great team like Okla‑ homa 14 points, you're putting yourself in a tough situation," Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly said after Oklahoma snapped the program's 10-game home winning streak. The Irish pulled within one posses‑ sion three different times throughout the game, but all three times Okla‑ homa snuffed out the potential come‑ back. "I wasn't shell-shocked," Rees said. "You have to bounce back between the play and stay positive and just keep moving forward. There is a lot of foot‑ ball left to play." Five different Notre Dame players, including senior backup quarterback Andrew Hendrix, received carries on a 10-play, 80-yard drive that finished with Rees connecting with Jones in the back of the end zone for a six-yard touchdown to narrow the deficit to 14‑7. Hendrix's change-of-pace style helped spark the offense, and fresh‑ man running back Tarean Folston's 36yard carry to the Oklahoma 3-yard line marked the series' signature play. Through Notre Dame's first four games, the offense relied on a passhappy attack, while the running game struggled to find a feature back. The

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