Scores

Final

(14) Oklahoma 35

(4-0, 1-0 Big 12)

(22) Notre Dame 21

(3-2)

Coverage: NBC

3:30 PM ET, September 28, 2013

Notre Dame Stadium, NOTRE DAME, IN

1 2 3 4 T
#14OKLA 14 7 6 835
#22ND 7 0 7 721

Top Performers

Passing: B. Bell (OKLA) - 232 YDS, 2 TD

Rushing: G. Atkinson III (ND) - 14 CAR, 148 YDS, 1 TD

Receiving: S. Shepard (OKLA) - 5 REC, 83 YDS, 1 TD

Blake Bell leads No. 14 Oklahoma to win at No. 22 Notre Dame

Associated Press

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- Oklahoma finally found a way to beat Notre Dame again.

The 14th-ranked Sooners took advantage of three interceptions, two in the first 3 minutes as they jumped to a 14-0 lead, and Blake Bell passed for two touchdowns to lead the Sooners to a 35-21 victory over the 22nd-ranked Fighting Irish on Saturday.

The win ended a seven-game losing streak to Notre Dame and was just the second in 11 meetings for the Sooners against the Irish, including ending an NCAA-record 47-game winning streak in 1957.

Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops, an Irish Catholic who grew up in Ohio and downplayed the history aspect all week, conceded the victory was especially gratifying.

"Now that it's happened this way, I'm pleased and I sure am glad for those older Oklahomans that have been through all those games Notre Dame had beaten us. We get some level of satisfaction winning this one," he said. "Who knows when we'll play again? So they can live it up and say, 'We got you' last until we go again."

The Sooners (4-0) took control with the two interceptions.

Rees didn't see Oklahoma linebacker Eric Striker blitzing and was hit from behind, popping the ball loose, and linebacker Corey Nelson caught it and returned it 24 yards for a TD.

On Notre Dame's next play from scrimmage, Rees' pass ricocheted off the arm of receiver TJ Jones and linebacker Frank Shannon bobbled it before returning it 17 yards to the Notre Dame 32. The Sooners scored another TD four plays later on an 11-yard run by Damien Williams.

Coach Brian Kelly was surprised by the slow start by Notre Dame (3-2).

"You never expect to not pick up the simplest of stunts and have your quarterback get the ball stripped. You never expect not to run the right route when you're supposed to," he said. "The turnovers for us were too much to overcome."

After Notre Dame played a nearly perfect game in beating the Sooners last season, with no turnovers and just one penalty for 5 yards, Oklahoma was the one that made the fewest mistakes Saturday. The Sooners, who managed just 15 yards rushing against the Irish last season, finished with 212 yards rushing.

The game was a stark contrast to last season, when the Irish dominated the lines of scrimmage and amassed 215 yards on the ground. The Sooners frequently went wide on both runs and passes to try to offset Notre Dame's size inside. The Irish managed to rush for a season-high 220 yards, with George Atkinson running for 148 yards on 14 carries.

Bell, making his second career start, wasn't as impressive as he was when he passed for 413 yards and four touchdowns in a 51-20 win over Tulsa, but he was good enough to lead the Sooners over the Irish. He was 22 of 30 passing for 232 yards and two touchdowns.

"He was really sharp. He put the ball where it needed to be, finding the right guys, going through his reads," Stoops said. "And give credit to the line to give them the opportunity to find those guys, so I thought he played great."

Bell, threw a 26-yard TD pass to Lacoltan Bester to cap an 88-yard drive after an interception by cornerback Julian Wilson late in the second quarter, said the victory was especially satisfying considering last season's loss.

"We felt like we left some stuff on the field last year. Obviously we didn't come up with a win last year so we really wanted this one bad, especially coming on the road," Bell said

Rees struggled for a second straight game. After three straight games of passing for more than 300 yards, he was 9 of 24 for a season-low 104 yards.

"Obviously, I'm disappointed with how I played, individually. I've got to be better. You can't turn the ball over and expect to win games against good teams like Oklahoma," Rees said.

Kelly said there was plenty of blame to go around.

"This is about 11 players. We don't execute on the offensive line in the first fumble, we don't run the right route. It's natural for everybody to go after the quarterback, but there's 11 players out there," Kelly said.

Kelly didn't want to talk about what the loss means big picture for the Irish, who entered the season with hopes of making it back to the BCS title game.

"That's for you guys to talk about. I've got a football team we're trying to work with and develop. You guys can have your own comments and decide what happens and put us in any bowl you want," he said.

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Team Stat Comparison

 
OKLA
ND
1st Downs2512
Total Yards450324
Passing238104
Rushing212220
Penalties4-318-77
3rd Down Conversions5-144-12
4th Down Conversions0-10-0
Turnovers03
Possession35:4424:16

Passing Leaders

OklahomaC/ATTYDSAVGTDINT
Bell22/302327.720
Notre DameC/ATTYDSAVGTDINT
Rees9/241044.323

Rushing Leaders

OklahomaCARYDSAVGTDLG
Clay14775.5015
Bell12594.9012
Notre DameCARYDSAVGTDLG
Atkinson III1414810.6180
Folston24321.5036

Receiving Leaders

OklahomaRECYDSAVGTDLG
Shepard58316.6154
Saunders7466.6011
Notre DameRECYDSAVGTDLG
Niklas24321.5130
Jones44210.5114

Scoring Summary

FIRST QUARTEROKLAND
TD14:11Corey Nelson 24 Yd Interception Return (Michael Hunnicutt Kick) 70
TD12:15Damien Williams 11 Yd Run (Michael Hunnicutt Kick) 140
TD04:03TJ Jones 6 Yd Pass From Tommy Rees (Kyle Brindza Kick) 147
SECOND QUARTEROKLAND
TD00:42Lacoltan Bester 26 Yd Pass From Blake Bell (Michael Hunnicutt Kick) 217
THIRD QUARTEROKLAND
TD12:31George Atkinson III 80 Yd Run (Kyle Brindza Kick) 2114
FG08:11Michael Hunnicutt 27 Yd 2414
FG02:43Michael Hunnicutt 19 Yd 2714
FOURTH QUARTEROKLAND
TD14:10Troy Niklas 30 Yd Pass From Tommy Rees (Kyle Brindza Kick) 2721
TD12:24Sterling Shepard 54 Yd Pass From Blake Bell (Blake Bell Pass To Sterling Shepard For Two-Point Conversion) 3521

Research Notes

Tommy Rees is only Notre Dame QB in the last 10 seasons with 3 interceptions in any half of a game.

ESPN Stats & Information