Blue and Gold Illustrated

Oct. 7, 2013 Issue

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

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on paper revisited Oklahoma Running Game Vs. Notre Dame Run Defense The read option with 6-6, 252-pound quarterback Blake Bell (12 carries for 59 yards) provided an important element in the Sooners' overall arsenal. It kept the linebackers more frozen, thus opening up the quick slip passes and screens off play action — most notably the 54-yard touchdown to Sterling Shepard on third-and-three when Oklahoma was clinging to a 27-21 lead early in the fourth quarter. Bell's dual-threat element made the Sooners more difficult to defend than last year with pocket passer Landry Jones, when the Sooners totaled just 15 rushing yards against the Irish. With Bell as a rushing option, running backs Brennan Clay (14 carries for 77 yards) and Damian Williams (nine carries for 42 yards) combined for 119 yards and an average of 5.0 yards per carry. Advantage: Oklahoma By lou somogyi Oklahoma Passing Game Vs. Notre Dame Pass Defense Other than the 26-yard touchdown pass to LaColtan Bester — in which Bell had way too much time to survey the field and his reads — the Sooners almost never took shots down the field, relying mainly on a steady diet of bubble screens and shorter throws that relied more on yards after the catch, like the aforementioned toss to Shepard that turned into a 54-yard score. The effective running game was working in synchronicity with the pass because each was feeding off the other, and the threat of Bell as a runner kept the Irish on their collective heels for the most part. The pass rush (no sacks and only three quarterback hurries) possesses neither consistency nor a finishing touch (four sacks in five games, among the worst in the country). Bell finished 22-of-30 passing for 232 yards with two scores and no interceptions. Advantage: Oklahoma The Sooners improved their ground output against the Irish from 15 yards in last season's loss to 212 yards this year, led by running back Brennan Clay's 14 rushes for 77 yards. photo by Bill Panzica

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