Start with an underwhelming running game. Mix in a mediocre defensive line. Add some bizarre cases of brain lock.
It’s not a new story in Soonerland. (At this point, I could put these post-loss wrap-ups on autopilot.)
The Notre Dame Fighting Irish superbly executed coach Brian Kelly’s equally superb game plan Saturday night, leading to a frustratingly familiar 30-13 Oklahoma loss.
On defense, ND didn’t do anything exotic, sticking primarily with its base scheme. Instead of getting fancy, ND’s beefy defensive front simply worked over OU’s offensive line to keep the Sooners’ run game in check. OU’s inability to consistently move the ball via the ground freed up the Irish secondary to focus on limiting big plays through the air. When OU’s receivers had the ball in their hands, ND’s tackling was dead-solid perfect.
Offensively, the Irish limited their mistakes to a handful of foot faults. Kelly took advantage of the Sooners’ middling front four to get just enough from the running game – including a 66-yard touchdown burst from Cierre Wood – to set up effective play-action passing from precocious redshirt freshman Everett Golson. As has been the case in the past with mobile QBs, Golson hurt the Sooners with his legs, too, rushing for 64 yards on the night.
Toss in two FUBAR snaps from Gabe Ikard to Landry Jones, and the night was complete.
That’s the book on OU. Simply put, opponents have little reason to respect OU’s running game and every reason to attack the Sooners’ front four. Bill Snyder and Kansas State penned the previous chapter, and Kelly and the Irish added their own verse at Owen Field Saturday night.
If the Sooners don't change up the story, the ending won't change up anytime soon.