ESPN’s “College GameDay” has been in attendance at 37 Oklahoma football games, but only seven times has the venue been in Norman.
On Saturday, “GameDay” will be on site at OU to preview the Bedlam battle between the Sooners and Oklahoma State Cowboys. It will mark the seventh time the ESPN crew has featured a Bedlam game, but only the second time for an OU-OSU rivalry game hosted at Oklahoma.
The Sooners are 5-2 when College GameDay has set up shop outside of Oklahoma Memorial Stadium. The lone time the highly popular Saturday morning preview program was at OU for Bedlam was in 2003. No. 1 Oklahoma won that game 52-9.
College GameDay’s last visit to Norman was eight years ago, on Oct. 27, 2012. The featured game in college football that day was No. 5 Notre Dame at No. 8 Oklahoma.
Notre Dame entered the game with a perfect 7-0 record and were underdogs to the 5-1 Sooners, largely because the game was at Oklahoma, where Sooner head coach Bob Stoops was 79-4 in games played in Norman.
These two iconic college football brands had played just one other time (in 1999) since the 1960s. Coming into the game, Oklahoma and Notre Dame had faced each other eight times overall, with the Fighting Irish owning a 7-1 record against the Sooners.
A sellout crowd of 86,000-plus was on hand at a striped Gaylord Family Oklahoma Memorial Stadium for the primetime nationally televised game.
The Sooners drew first blood in the contest on a 28-yard field goal by Michael Hunnicutt midway through the opening quarters to take a 3-0 lead. That advantage lasted less than a minute.
It took Notre Dame just two plays on the ensuing possession to take over the lead on a 62-yard touchdown run by running back Cierre Wood. The point-after was good and just like that the Sooner advantage was erased..
The two teams traded field goals in the second stanza, and the Fighting Irish took a narrow 10-6 lead to the locker room at halftime.
Neither team scored in the third quarter, but things really heated up over the final 15 minutes.
The Irish extended their lead to13-6 on a 44-yard field goal a minute into the final quarter. The Sooners came right back, mounting a seven-play, 52-yard scoring drive, capped off on a 2-yard run by the “Belldozer,” Blake Bell. Hunnicutt added the extra point, tying the score at 13-all with just over nine minutes remaining in the game.
Notre Dame ‘D’ shuts down high-powered Oklahoma football defense
This was just the sort of game Notre Dame had hoped it would be. The Irish were holding opponents to an average of 9.4 points per game. The Sooners, however, came into this battle of top-10 ranked teams averaging nearly 45 points a game.
The highly partisan Oklahoma crowd hardly had time to celebrate. On the very next play from scrimmage. Notre Dame quarterback Everett Colson connected with freshman Chris Brown on a 50-yard pass, setting the Irish up at the Oklahoma 15-yard line. That was Brown’s first collegiate reception.
It took Notre Dame five plays from there with Colson getting the final yard on a 3rd-and-goal TD run to regain the lead at 20-13.
That proved to be the beginning of the end for the Sooners on this night. On OU’s next possession, a Landry Jones pass was deflected at midfield and ended up in the hands of All-American Irish linebacker Manti Te’o. That led to an Irish field goal, increasing the lead to 23-13.
Notre Dame would score once more late in the game to finish off a 30-13 victory, the team’s eighth in nine games with Oklahoma and just the fifth home loss in Bob Stoops’ then-14th season at OU.
Notre Dame outgained Oklahoma 403 yards to 379 and held the Sooners to just 15 rushing yards. Meanwhile, the Fighting Irish battered the OU defensive front with a three-headed attack that accounted for 215 yards on the ground.
Oklahoma finished out the 2012 season with a 10-3 overall record and tied with Kansas State for a share of the Big 12 championship with an 8-1 conference record. The Sooners finished 15th in the final Associated Press poll. Notre Dame ended the season at No. 4.