Oklahoma seizes control early, takes down Notre Dame 35-21

Dr. Saturday

Notre Dame's first two possessions ended in interceptions and those interceptions turned into Oklahoma touchdowns.

Judging from that sentence, you can easily guess who won Saturday's matchup between the Sooners and the Irish. After Oklahoma stormed out to a 14-0 lead, Notre Dame was in catch-up mode the rest of the way and never caught up, losing 35-21.

On the second play of the game, Oklahoma lineman Corey Nelson picked off Notre Dame's Tommy Rees when Rees was hit as he threw. Nelson rumbled into the end zone for a 7-0 lead. Then, after Notre Dame got the ball back, Rees threw an interception to Frank Shannon on his next pass.

Four plays later, Oklahoma was in the end zone again, courtesy of an 11-yard Damien Williams run. Yes, there was over 12 minutes left in the first half, but the ballgame was over.

From then on, Oklahoma simply maintained its lead. Notre Dame got within six at 27-21 early in the fourth quarter, but Oklahoma responded by going 75 yards in just five plays thanks to a Blake Bell 54-yard touchdown pass to Sterling Shepard for the decisive margin of victory.

Bell might have also put any quarterback debate in Norman to rest Saturday, too. He was 22-30 for 232 yards and two touchdowns and also ran for 59 yards. Trevor Knight, the man who started the season under center for Oklahoma, briefly replaced Bell after what appeared to be a cramp, but Bell returned a short time after leaving.

For Oklahoma, the win could be a launching pad not only to the top 10, but for favorite status in the Big 12 even though Notre Dame is a nonconference foe. With Oklahoma State's loss at West Virginia earlier in the day, the early statement in South Bend was the perfect alcohol for the Cowboys' wound. The Sooners haven't gone anywhere.

For Notre Dame, a BCS bowl is slipping from its grasp, as the Irish still have a trip to Stanford still on the schedule. After sparkling against Michigan State at home, Rees finished with three interceptions and was just 9-24 for 106 yards passing.

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