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Notre Dame 30, Oklahoma 13

The SportsXchange

NORMAN, Okla.--There's no denying Notre Dame is a national title contender now.

The No. 5 Fighting Irish have scratched and clawed their way through much of the season but keep finding ways to win.

Saturday at No. 8 Oklahoma, Notre Dame kept that streak alive, grinding out a 30-13 win over the Sooners at Owen Field.

The Fighting Irish are 9-1 all-time against the Sooners and 5-0 in Norman.

Notre Dame continues its pursuit of an undefeated season and its first national championship since 1988 next Saturday when it hosts Pittsburgh. The Irish are 8-0 for the first time since 2002.

Oklahoma (5-2), its national championship hopes all but ended, returns to Big 12 play at Iowa State.

With the Irish up by a touchdown late, Notre Dame's Manti Te'o dove to pick off Landry Jones' pass off a deflection.

The pass was intended for Jalen Saunders, but Dan Fox hit Saunders as the ball arrived, popping up for Te'o to pick off.

Notre Dame added a field goal and a touchdown late to turn what had been a close game into a relatively comfortable lead.

The Sooners became the first team this season to score a rushing touchdown against the Irish, when Blake Bell scored from the 1 with around nine minutes remaining to tie the game.

Oklahoma hadn't had much success on the ground to that point, and had Bell throw his first pass of the season with the game still on the line to pick up a first down just before Bell's touchdown.

Notre Dame quickly regained some momentum on Everett Golson's 50-yard pass to Chris Brown.

Golson scored from five yards out to put Notre Dame back in front by a touchdown with five minutes left.

Notre Dame struck the first big blow midway through the first quarter, just two plays after Oklahoma had taken a lead with a 28-yard field goal.

Cierre Wood broke through and went virtually untouched for a 62-yard touchdown.

Notre Dame came in with one of the top rushing defenses in the country and as the only team in the nation that hadn't allowed a rushing touchdown.

The streak looked broken in the final minutes of the first half when the Sooners brought out Blake Bell at quarterback.

Bell appeared to have scored on a zone read play, but Sooners offensive lineman Bronson Irwin was flagged for holding and the Sooners eventually settled for a field goal to go into halftime trailing 10-6.

The Sooners had little success on the ground, rushing for just three yards on 16 first-half carries.

NOTES: Oklahoma wide receiver Jalen Saunders, a Fresno State transfer who was granted eligibility for the year before the Sooners' Oct. 20 game vs. Kansas, set a school record with eight first-quarter catches. ... Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o recorded his 400th career tackle late in the first quarter. ... Sooners defensive tackle Stacy McGee, who had been suspended for the first six games for undisclosed violations of team rules, returned to action, making his first appearance on Notre Dame's final drive of the opening quarter. ... Oklahoma took a 3-0 lead in the first quarter, the first time Notre Dame has failed to score first this season.
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