MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

OU

September 29, 2013

OU-Notre Dame notebook

(Continued)

Classic series

Saturday’s game was the last scheduled for the Sooners and Fighting Irish. And with the Fighting Irish having to play at least five games with ACC opponents each year beginning next season and OU having a BCS conference foe booked through the next eight seasons, another home-and-home series would be pretty far off.

Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly said the series was good for his program.

“Coach Stoops and his staff, we have a lot of respect for them. The way they compete, a class organization and a team and a program that we really enjoyed competing against,” he said. “It’s a program that we really enjoyed the home-and-home with them.”

Revenge factor

Stoops downplayed any significance last season’s 30-13 loss to the Irish had on Saturday’s game.

“To me, all you’re talking about is revenge you’re not giving the other team enough respect for coming in and beating you. That’s something you say how could they beat us? You know why they beat us a year ago? They beat about everybody until the last game. So we respected that,” he said. “There wasn’t any talk of revenge. It was about what are some of the things we did wrong a year ago that we can be better at and how can we finish the game better?”

Answering that question is something OU has done pretty well lately. It has won its last nine games against teams that beat OU in the previous meeting. The last team to beat the Sooners in back-to-back contests was Texas in 2008 and 2009.

Need for improvement

One source of irritation for OU defensive coordinator Mike Stoops was the 220 rushing yards Notre Dame picked up.

“They rushed the ball. They had to rush it close to 30-35 times. And then they were down in the fourth quarter and rushed it more. Through the first three quarters, they rushed more than they threw it,” he said. “They had success running in their bigger sets. It’s something we have to get better at. I didn’t feel comfortable all night in those sets.”

OU played the entire game in a three-man defensive front. If it wasn’t going to use a four-man front against Notre Dame, it’s doubtful OU will use one the rest of the regular season.

—John Shinn

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