The Oklahoma Sooners have not beaten the Notre Dame Fighting Irish in over half a century, but head into South Bend with a new quarterback and one of the better defenses in the NFL. Here is a look at five Sooners players who need to stop up if OU wants to finally knock off the Fighting Irish and get that giant monkey off their backs.
Blake Bell lost his starting job to Trevor Knight before the season started and then won it back thanks to a knee injury. After two games where Knight proved he was not ready to lead the Sooners, Bell came in and threw for more yards than any Oklahoma Sooners quarterback – in the history of the program – for a debut game. He did better in his debut than Sam Bradford, Landry Jones, Jason White and Josh Heupel.
That was against Tulsa. Now, he gets to prove himself against the Notre Dame team that has always had OU’s number. Last week, Bell threw for 451 yards and four touchdowns while completing 70 percent of his passes. He can also run, and while he is not a quick scrambler, he is a big runner and it is hard to bring him down. OU will need his arm and legs to beat the Fighting Irish defense. OU needs Bell to have a repeat performance this week.
If he does, this starting job is his to keep until he is ready to leave Norman.
The Oklahoma Sooners backfield is a rotating monster, where anyone of the runners could have a big game at any time. However, one of them needs to step up and lay claim to that job, and Brennan Clay is the complete package. He will play an important role in this game when it comes to keeping the defense honest and if he can get off to a big start, Notre Dame will have to let Blake Bell throw the ball, which could mean big things for OU.
If it’s not Clay, then someone needs to step up here and make sure Notre Dame respects the run.