The meteoric rise for Notre Dame from huge disappointment to BCS team last year hasn’t resulted in an improvement this season, but a win over Oklahoma can steady the ship that hasn’t been looking too stable on both offense or defense this season.
The Sooners haven’t really faced stiff competition through their 3-0 start to the season; they’re allowing nine points per game, with Blake Bell putting up a 27 of 37, 413 yards and four touchdowns performance in his first career start.
Notre Dame, despite their style last season and their preference to run the ball, have been airing it out with Tommy Rees throwing for 1111 yards and 8 touchdowns so far this season, as Notre Dame are seeing more and more man to man defense in an attempt to take them away from the run.
One of the surprising facts about the Irish this season is their inconsistent defense. The limited Michigan State to only 254 yards in the 17-13 win which was one of the sloppiest games between two AQ teams we’ll see this season, but they allowed 372 yards over the first three games of the season.
Bell is going to be a very different quarterback than what Oklahoma brought against Notre Dame last season in Landry Jones. Bell ran for 24 rushing touchdowns over his first two seasons as he was used in short yardage situations, but he just might be what the Sooners need under center consistently, and his ability to do a little bit of both might be quite a problem for the Notre Dame defense.
History shows Oklahoma don’t do well when playing against Notre Dame. They lost at home 30-13 last season in an impressive defensive performance from the Fighting Irish, but this is a different team. Just as aggressive, just not as competent on defense. Overall, Oklahoma are only 1-9 against Notre Dame, not playing in South Bend since 1999, and their last win against them coming in 1956.
Prediction – Notre Dame are coming through the close calls, more or less, even without playing good enough football. Oklahoma haven’t really faced impressive competition so far this season, and the rise in level they’ll have to face, especially the passing attack of Notre Dame, is going to be too much for them to handle.