Oklahoma Football: Previewing The Sooners And Notre Dame - NewsOn6.com - Tulsa, OK - News, Weather, Video and Sports - KOTV.com |

Oklahoma Football: Previewing The Sooners And Notre Dame

Posted: Updated:
NORMAN, Oklahoma -

Last year, two college football powers clashed in Norman with national title implications on the line. Notre Dame, still viewed as a pretender at the time, dominated Oklahoma, 30-13, and used that victory as a boost to the national championship.

Saturday, Oklahoma travels to South Bend, Ind. to take on the Fighting Irish in an effort to exact a measure of revenge for last year's defeat. This year, the title implications aren't as big, but only because the game is in September instead of late October. This is a massive game for both teams and could be used as a huge momentum builder.

Three questions for Oklahoma

1. How will Blake Bell fare in his first road start?

Bell was terrific in his first start against Tulsa two weeks ago, throwing for 413 yards and four touchdowns. Bell spent the majority of the time in the pocket, rarely running. When he did, it was scrambling and not on designed quarterback runs. The Fighting Irish boast a much more formidable challenge than the Golden Hurricane, so this week will be the quite the test for Bell. While he didn't show any nerves against Tulsa, don't be surprised if Bell makes a few mistakes against the Irish. Whether they cost OU the game or not is to be determined.

Related Story: All Business: Sooners Traveling To Notre Dame To Win, Not Sight-See

2. Will the Sooners be able to run the ball effectively?

Last year, the Notre Dame defense held the Sooners to a measly 15 yards rushing. So far this year, the Sooners are rushing for an average of 271.7 yards per game while Notre Dame is giving up 114.2 yards rushing per game, a slight increase from the 105.7 yards per game they gave up last season (the average was 92.4 before Alabama ran all over the Irish in the title game). Oklahoma hasn't faced a defense like Notre Dame yet, but the poor performance from a year ago should be gnawing away at the OU offensive line and running backs. OU probably won't run for 275 yards, but it should be more than 15.

3. Will the defense continue to impress against their first quality opponent?

The Fighting Irish won't cause anyone to mistake them for Oregon, but they do have a quality offense and an experienced quarterback. Notre Dame doesn't have a great rushing attack, but does have a couple of impressive wide receivers and a veteran offensive line. The Sooners have performed very well on defense, giving up just nine points a game so far. This will be a big test for OU, particularly along the defensive line. If the Sooners can get pressure on Rees and bottle up the run game, the Irish should be pretty easy to contain.

Three players to watch for Notre Dame

1. Tommy Rees, quarterback- 1,111 yards passing, 8 touchdowns, 2 interceptions

Rees has been around for a long time and has started 22 games in his four-year career. Rees did a nice job a year ago coming in at key points in games as a "closer" of sorts when Everett Golson wasn't getting the job done. Now, with Golson not enrolled at Notre Dame thanks to academic issues, Rees has stepped up in a big way, showing veteran leadership through the first four weeks of the season. He's not going to make anyone think of Joe Montana, but if he doesn't make mistakes, he can be quite a problem for the Sooners.

Related Story: Sooners Need Run Game To Continue Stellar Production Against Notre Dame

2. Louis Nix III, nose tackle- 14 tackles, one tackle for loss

Nix is the anchor of the defensive line and wrecked havoc in the OU backfield a year ago in Norman. Nix is a massive man at 6-foot-2, 342 pounds and an All-American. OU center Gabe Ikard said this week that facing Nix last year was his toughest matchup of the season. The Sooners will have to double Nix at some points in order to establish the run and protect Blake Bell throughout the game. However, as we saw last season, that opened plenty of blitz opportunities for the Notre Dame linebackers. OU may have to be creative in the ways of containing Nix.

3. DaVaris Daniels, wide receiver- 20 catches, 305 yards, 4 touchdowns

Daniels, a junior, has stepped up in a big way for the Irish this season, leading the team in touchdown catches and is second in receptions. Daniels had a breakout game against Purdue two weeks ago, grabbing eight passes for 167 yards and two touchdowns. Daniels has good size and will challenge the OU cornerbacks, especially since fellow wide receiver TJ Jones needs plenty of attention. OU will have to do a great job in man coverage in order to contain Daniels and Jones.

Key matchup: Oklahoma offensive line vs. Notre Dame defensive line

Last year, the Sooners couldn't run the football and it cost them dearly. OU was unable to generate any offense in the red zone and could only find underneath routes in the passing game. Simply put, if Oklahoma is going to get a big road win this weekend, they have to run the ball. It doesn't have to be 300 yards, but they have to be successful enough to keep the Notre Dame defense honest. 15 yards isn't going to cut it this year.

Prediction: Oklahoma 24, Notre Dame 14

Live Radar

ESP Interactive

More Sports

  • OSU Cowboys

    Get all your OSU Cowboys information from sports highlights to the latest news & videos.

  • OKC Thunder

    Thunder Up! Get the latest sports news, game highlights, videos and updates on the team.

  • TU Golden Hurricane

    Follow the TU Golden Hurricane! Get sports scores, news and highlights.

  • ORU Golden Eagles

    ORU Golden Eagles fans can find the latest news on the team, scores and video here!

Powered by WorldNow
News On 6
303 N. Boston Ave.
Tulsa, OK 74103
TULSA'S OWN TM
GREEN COUNTRY'S OWN TM
Oklahoma's Own Newson6.com is proud to provide Oklahomans with timely and relevant news and information, sharing the stories, pictures and loves of Oklahomans across our great state including Tulsa's Own and Green Country's Own.
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014, WorldNow and KOTV. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.