OU football: Defenses rule in first half as Fighting Irish lead, 10-6
After the first 30 minutes of action, Oklahoma trails Notre Dame, 10-6, due to a 62-yard dash to the house by Fighting Irish senior running back Cierre Wood for the game's only touchdown.
Stat of half: The eight receptions in first quarter by junior wide receiver Jalen Saunders gave the Fresno State transfer the OU school record for most receptions in a quarter. Saunders finished the first half with 82 yards, including the three out of the first four catches for the Sooners in the game.
Player of the half: Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o came to play against the Sooner offense. The senior linebacker had 11 tackles, including two tackles for a loss of 12 combined yards. He also had the only sack for the night, a nine-yard drop that forced the Sooners punt.
What’s working: Except for the breakout touchdown run by Wood, the Sooner defense limited Notre Dame to just six first downs, including just 2-of-6 in third down conversions. If the Sooners can keep the Fighting Irish out of the end zone, OU will have a good chance to turn the tide in its favor after halftime.
What’s not working; OU hasn’t established a running game yet. Through one-and-half quarters, the Sooners posted -9 rushing yards. At the end of the first half, OU only had three rushing yards on the board. If the Sooners want their receivers to continue to get wide open in the young Notre Dame secondary, establishing the ground game will be key to making that happen.
What the Sooners need to do to pull out a win: OU needs continue to play sound defense and not give anymore big breaks to the Notre Dame offense while senior quarterback Landry Jones needs to lead his offense to touchdowns — not settle for field goals — in the second half.