This year’s Notre Dame Fighting Irish is not the same team that went into the national title game undefeated last year before losing to the Alabama Crimson Tide. The 22nd ranked Irish entered their fourth game of the season against the Michigan State Spartans with a 2-1 record, but held on to beat the previously undefeated Spartans.
Last year’s Notre Dame team won with defense, and won a close defensive effort this week, 17-13. It was an improvement over the Irish team that gave up 41 points to Michigan in Week 2 and 24 to Purdue in Week 3.
However, the Fighting Irish didn’t win this game because of their spectacular play, but instead by capitalizing on mistakes. There was a Michigan State game that backfired on the Spartans plus four pass interference calls that went the Irish way, as well as one holding penalty, that led to all 17 of the Irish points.
Notre Dame won despite quarterback Tommy Rees only completing 41% of his passes for 142 yards and the rushing game only finishing with 78 rushing yards.
In Week 5, Notre Dame will have to stop the Sooners and new quarterback Blake Bell and a Sooners defense that has – so far – avoided the kind of mistakes that the Spartans made. Plus, Bell threw for 413 yards in his first start, so Notre Dame will have to play more like they did against the Spartans and hope there is not a repeat of their Michigan game.
Fans of the Sooners, there is something here when it comes to revenge against the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame. In the 10 meetings between the Sooners and Irish, Oklahoma has only one won game, in 1956.
That win came in the middle of the Sooners’ record setting 47-game winning streak. What is interesting is that Notre Dame beat the Sooners in 1953 in the last OU loss before the winning streak started and then again in 1957 to end the winning streak. OU has never beat Notre Dame since that time.
The Oklahoma Sooners finally get a chance at Notre Dame again, as the Irish host the Sooners on Saturday, Sept. 28, at 2:30 p.m. CST.