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Irish Get First Test with Oklahoma

Matthew Emmons-US PRESSWIRE

The Saturday night non-conference matchup between Notre Dame and Oklahoma is a clash between BCS powerhouses.

Notre Dame has risen to No. 5 in the FCS polls for the first time since quarterback Brady Quinn was at the helm and are contending for a national championship spot since the 1980s.  So far, they’ve already accumulated seven wins on the season — a stat that few saw coming — and have an easier schedule in front of them for the next three matchups (Pittsburgh, Boston College and Wake Forest).


Oklahoma’s offense has been pedestrian at best, which says a lot about a team that has climbed up the BCS rankings in the last few weeks.  They are equipped with one of the best tight ends in college football in Tyler Eifert, but because of the lack of downfield targets, teams seem to be double teaming him on every play.  The Sooners also have a mobile quarterback at their disposal in Everett Goldson.  If he can make the defense weary of his out-of-pocket presence, they’ll leave some holes open downfield.

The Sooners have had good success with their ground game since inserting junior college transfer Damien Williams into the mix.  They’ll definitely have their hands full though, considering Notre Dame is stacked with a defense loaded with future NFL draftees.  In fact, the squad has only allowed one rushing touchdown all season, which ranks tied for best in the FCS.  The question remains if quarterback Landry Jones can “manage the game” and keep errant throws to a minimum.  He has the defense behind him, all he needs is a few comfortable plays to settle him in to an efficient day passing.

The Irish pretty much have the same gameplan.  They can run the ball well, as seen in their wins over Stanford and BYU, and they can hold up against the run.  Their biggest concern is their air attack, which has been inconsistent at best, especially their knack of turning the ball over (Jones has fumbled the ball four times this season).

The spread: Oklahoma (-11) at Notre Dame.

I see Oklahoma stealing this one in Notre Dame.  The Sooners are just too powerful on both sides of the ball and matchup well with an Irish team that hasn’t been tested to this extreme.  Oklahoma 31, Notre Dame 17

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