The Oklahoma football team has had its struggles against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. The Sooners were 1-9 all-time against them and their lone win came in 1956, during their record 47-game winning streak.
The following year, the Irish would be the ones to snap that streak and win seven straight in the series that spans more than 50 years.
The two most storied programs in college football history met on Sept. 28 in a beautiful day in South Bend, Ind. at Notre Dame Stadium as the two teams continued to fight in a long, long rivalry.
Nearly 57 years later, the No. 14 Sooners (4-0, 1-0 Big 12 Conference) finally got another win in the series, 35-21. Both wins have come on the road.
Junior Blake Bell continued to play efficiently and effectively, completing 22-of-30 passes for 231 yards and two touchdowns, while also adding 59 yards rushing on 12 carries.
The Sooners got off to a great start as their defense intercepted Tommy Rees twice in two plays. First, Corey Nelson picked Rees off and returned it for a 24-yard score. After the ensuing kickoff, Rees would get picked off again, this time by Frank Shannon who would return it 17 yards to set up the Sooners’ second score.
Four plays later, senior running back Damien Willaims rushed in for an 11-yard score to make it 14-0. Williams, who was suspended against Tulsa for violating team policy, had nine rushes for 42 yards and caught four passes for 41 yards.
Notre Dame (3-2) got on the board with 4:44 left in the opening quarter as Rees connected with T.J. Jones from six yards out to make it a seven-point game.
Rees, who was averaging 323 yards per game in the first three games, has now thrown for less than 150 in two straight, including a season-low 104 against Oklahoma on 9-of-24 passing.
Oklahoma came into the game allowing nine points per game, and now sits at 12 points per game, good for sixth in the nation. Through four games, the Sooners are 17th in the country, allowing 299.5 yards per game.
The Sooners were able to score 21 points off of the three Notre Dame turnovers.
Bell connected with Lacoltan Bester for a 26-yard touchdown to cap an 88-yard drive after Rees’ third interception of the day.
After two starts, Bell is now completing 71 percent of his passes for 683 yards with six touchdowns and no interceptions. He’s also rushed for 114 yards.
Midway through the third, Bell would get hit on an incomplete pass and run for 11 yards for a first down, before getting up slowing. It seemed as if Bell was cramping, and as a precaution, the Belldozer and Sooner trainers headed to the locker room.
Freshman Trevor Knight, who opened the season as the starter before being replaced by Bell midway through the West Virginia game, came in and rushed for a 30-yard gain on his very first play. Bell returned soon after.
Oklahoma is off to its best start since the 2011 season when they started 6-0. The Sooners return home to welcome the TCU Horn-Frogs on Oct. 5, followed by the annual Red River Rivalry in Dallas against Texas on Oct. 12.