Things seemed to be getting back on track for the 2012 Oklahoma Sooners. They had lost to Kansas State, who came in and snapped their 39-game home winning streak, sat 2-1, but had won three in a row to move to 5-1, with blowouts in all three including Texas.
The Sooners were No. 8 in the country and back in the title discussion. Then came in No. 5 Notre Dame.
More than 86,000 fans packed the Gaylord Memorial Stadium in Norman, Okla. that day to watch two of the best college football teams in the sports’ history.
The Sooners (3-0, 1-0 Big 12 Conference) took the first lead 3-0, and was up at halftime 10-6, but it all fell apart in the final quarter. Notre Dame would score 24-fourth quarter points. Blake Bell ran in an 1-yard touchdown to tie the game at 13, but the Irish (3-1) would score 21-unanswered points in a matter of 3:29 to put the game out of hand.
Bell, who started his first-career game two weeks ago, had four carries for six yards and threw one pass for eight yards while backing up former quarterback Landry Jones.
Bell, who lost the quarterback competition in the preseason to freshman Trevor Knight, started for the first time, against Tulsa on Sept. 14. He threw for 413 yards, most ever in a Sooner quarterback’s first start. More than Sam Bradford, more than Landry Jones.
He threw for four touchdowns in the 51-20 route of the Golden Hurricane. Sterling Shepard caught eight passes for 123 yards and two touchdowns, while Roy Finch and Jalen Saunders had the other two scores. Saunders led all receivers in last year’s game with 15 grabs for 181 yards.
The Irish’s defense shut down the Sooners in 2012, not allowing a pass touchdown and intercepting Jones once. They also allowed just 15 yards rushing on 24 carries.
This year’s defense isn’t led by Mant’i Teo so the Sooners should have a much easier time.
Notre Dame has only forced four turnovers in giving up 21 points per game. In 2012, the Irish were first in the nation, giving up 10.3 ppg.
The Irish gave up just 254 yards to Michigan State on Sept. 21, but allowed 372 over the previous three. The Sooners are averaging 490 yards per game this season.
The Sooners are making their first visit to South Bend since a 34-30 loss in 1999. Oklahoma is just 1-9 against Notre dame all time, with its only victory coming in 1956.
Oklahoma is ranked No. 14 while Notre Dame is 22nd this year.