Bob Stoops and Oklahoma came out on the wrong side of things Saturday night in Norman against a Notre Dame team that has all the look of a national title contender.
As we start the second half, Oklahoma trails 10-6 and is kicking off to Notre Dame.
* 3rd Q, 14:20 - 2nd & 9 for ND from their 24. Just two plays into the second half here, but an important point to make I feel. Not of real relevance, but another instance where Demontre Hurst is playing inside on the slot receiver and Julian Wilson on the outside. This is the first game I can ever remember Hurst doing that.
Anyway, once again Oklahoma gets no where near Golson thus giving him all day to throw. He quickly comes off his initial read (Hurst had him blanketed), to his left, and to the outside receiver. Now, this isn't a particularly good throw, winding up high and behind his receiver, but the kid just makes a great play on the ball to haul it in. Again, Colvin isn't necessarily in great position, but it's not terrible coverage. Another instance, similar to the one in the first half, where the other team just makes a quality play.
* One of the few instances in the game where Oklahoma actually gets pressure on Golson only to have him scramble to his left, Wilson misses a tackle in the open field, and it's a first down run for Notre Dame.
* I'm sorry, but when Kirk Herbstreit is predicting what Notre Dame is going to do, exactly how the OU defense is going to react to it, and it works just as he describes that's a problem. The Irish motioned a back out on multiple occasions to get Tom Wort (or an OU linebacker) to follow him out only to create a gap/lane for Golson to run through. It worked literally every single time. Zero adjustment from the Oklahoma defense.
* It's just blatantly obvious how much confidence Golson is playing with here on this opening drive. For the life of me I'll never understand why the strategy wasn't to get to him early. Never blitzing or attempting to get pressure was the same failure of a game plan used against Kansas State and not surprisingly produced a similar result.
* OU defense is able to hold mainly thanks to a poor throw from Golson who had an open Eifert for what would have been a first down. Notre Dame shanks the field goal however.
* First and only (!!!) Oklahoma possession in the third quarter coming up here. Sooners come out in their hyper-speed mode for the first three plays, then slow down it down for some reason after two quick first downs. Another horrible block on the edge by Justin Brown as Damien Williams takes a swing pass out of the backfield. It'd be a leap on my part to say if Brown makes that block just how for Williams would have ran, but I'm confident it definitely would have been more than the eight yards he's limited to here.
Landry Jones makes a fantastic throw to Jalen Saunders (who else) on a designed roll out as he's sprinting to his left. Then things start to fall apart. Bare in mind, we're back in the slow it down/check with me offensive tempo here. On first down, Jones is forced to check it down to Trey Millard for no gain as all of his down field routes are covered.
On second and ten, Heupel calls a run up the middle for some inexplicable reason. It looks as if Gabe Ikard is supposed to get the initial block on the ND nose tackle (which isn't even Louis Nix on this play, it's his backup), then Adam Shead is supposed to pick him up as he crashes down to his right. Unfortunately, Ikard barely touches the guy and Shead cannot get there in time before he's in the backfield forcing Williams to try and cut it back to get something out of it. Sadly, there is yet another unblocked Irish defender waiting for him and the play goes for a two yard loss.
So now Oklahoma is looking at 3rd & 12 from the Notre Dame 40. Again the Irish allow the OU offense to take whatever they can get underneath and Jones is all too happy to oblige. On 3rd & 12, Jones decides to dump it off to Williams who is running a drag route across the middle about two yards past the line of scrimmage. He's tackled eight yards short of the first down marker. Outstanding.
* What's even more depressing is that Tress Way pins the Irish at their two yard line, after a nice special teams play from Justin Brown, and Notre Dame is about to rip off a 70 yard field goal scoring drive. With a redshirt freshman quarterback. On Owen Field. Like I said, depressing.
* To the point I've been making this entire time. Here on first down, Corey Nelson is right there to meet Riddick in the hole (does an excellent job to shed a block, shocking for an OU linebacker, I know) but he has little momentum and is driven back allowing a five yard gain. And just like that the ND offense has a little more room to work with and is right on schedule with a 2nd & 5. Golson takes off for 16 yards on second down (missed tackle by Nelson in space) and in the span of about 30 seconds they no longer have their backs up against their own goal line.
* Honestly, Colvin just got beat on a couple jump balls in this game. Have to credit DaVaris Daniels for a couple really nice catches.
* Gabe Lynn gets beaten badly on a 3rd & 4 giving Golson a very easy throw for the first down.
* Good lord is that Tony Jefferson kill shot on Golson a thing of beauty. I mean, WOW. I challenge you to find a more perfect tackle. Looked like Golson just had the wind knocked out of him and I also believe the refs made the right call ruling him down. Perfect example of OU not getting a break in this game all night. If that's a fumble and Jefferson houses it, Sooners take a 13-10 lead on a game changing turnover, and I don't care what anyone says I'm 1000% convinced Oklahoma wins this game. Alas, it was not to be.
End of the 3rd Quarter, Irish still have a 10-6 lead.
* Damien Williams noticeably limping (again) following a five yard run here early in the fourth quarter.
* 4th Q, 13:22 - 3rd & 5 for OU from their 49. HUGE third down here and it would appear some miscommunication between Jones and Brown. It appears as if Brown either runs the wrong route or doesn't get his head around in time for the pass, which I believe actually hits him in the back.
I will also say, it looks as if Jones has Williams wide open out of the backfield to his left for what would have been an easy first down but as he's want to do, he's so locked in on the right side of the field he's oblivious to it.
* To Musburger's credit (something I never thought I'd say), he makes a good point about how silent the crowd is following that play. It's like they knew just how big a play that was and what failing to convert it meant there.
* 4th Q, 11:51 - 2nd & 10 OU from their 48. Not a lot to break down here, just wanted to point out how close Saunders was to taking this one to the house. Splits the defense right up the middle with that speed, touchdown saving ankle tackle from the ND safety.
* Again, credit to this Notre Dame defense as they just do not miss any tackles (or at least seemed to in this game).
* Love, love, love the call on fourth down with the Belldozer pass. Just wish they'd do more of it. So many options out of that formation I feel like they're leaving on the table.
* Hell of a run for bell to punch it in there to tie the game up at 13-13. He gets hit twice before he gets even remotely close to the goal line. Once all the way back at the five yard line, shrugs that one off, then again at the three as he lowers his shoulder and just plows through the defender while leaping to stretch the ball into the end zone.
Oh, and on the play likely not noticed by hardly anyone because of the touchdown ... Trey Millard absolutely stones the chosen one, Manti Te'o. Stands his arse up even as Millard is a little off balance stopping his forward momentum to check back and make the block. (Play happens at about the 9:15 remaining point of the fourth quarter if you have any desire to go back and watch it, just an fyi.)
* As quiet as the stadium was before, it's anything but right now. Unfortunately . . .
* Golson is about to hit Chris Brown on a 50-yard gain and you can feel literally all of the air being sucked out of the stadium just as much on the television broadcast as you could in the stadium. I talked about it on the podcast, so I won't rehash the entire point here but with a 10+ yard cushion Hurst simply can't let that guy (1) get inside of him or (2) get behind him. Javon Harris certainly didn't help him by biting on the play action, but Hurst is better than that.
* Golson easily punches it in on a third down quarterback draw and the game was tied for all of four minutes and five seconds. 19-13 ND
* Saunders is literally being tackled on that bobbled pass that leads to the Te'o interception. Unbelievably horrible non-call there.
* That second bad snap is just as confusing as the first. Ikard basically rolled it to Jones, who to his credit had made a play on a similarly poor snap earlier in the game, but couldn't do so here a second time.
* Just a horrible decision from Jones to dump the ball off the Clay on a 4th & 9 from your own 20. Didn't look like that had any chance of getting a first down. You simply can't make a pass there anywhere short of the first down marker. Sorry, but a fifth year senior has to do better than that in my opinion.
* Circumstances played a huge factor in those final 17 Notre Dame points, which only makes it that much more bizarre to think this game was tied with about five minutes to go and wound up 30-13.
* Just atrocious tackling on that last Irish rushing touchdown.
* Got some comments on my questioning of Brennan Clay returning kickoffs and I could wind up being wrong again here, but show me a big return he's made at a meaningful point in a game.
* Damien Williams being in this game with less than a minute to go after having already hurt his ankle is just retarded.
* That Irish cornerback when down like he'd been shot on that offensive pass interference call. Not saying it wasn't a penalty on Stills, but dude went down like a sniper got him. Saw a lot of comments from OU fans ripping Stills for that sequence of events, but I don't really have an issue with it (though I'm quite certain Notre Dame fans did/do). Would you rather he not be pissed off about losing?