Some notes and quotes in the wake of Notre Dame’s 30-13 victory at Oklahoma on Saturday night:
Bend, but don’t break
The first couple of Oklahoma series were likely horrifying for Notre Dame fans to watch, as Sooners quarterback Landry Jones picked apart the Irish with intermediate passes to wide-open receivers, taking advantage of a big cushion provided by the Irish secondary.
But Irish coach Brian Kelly said that was defensive coordinator Bob Diaco’s plan all along.
“We structured the game plan to keep the points down,” Kelly said. “We were willing to give up yardage in the passing game to keep the points down. We’re not, offensively, at a point where we can outscore a team like Oklahoma. I thought Bob Diaco and the defense did a great job with the plan, we stuck with the plan, and it turned out to be a good one.”
Indeed, Jones threw for 356 yards, but was kept out of the end zone as the Irish repeatedly bent, but never broke.
Hitting his spots
Notre Dame quarterback Everett Golson got an earful from coach Brian Kelly after throwing a ball low and outside to tight end Tyler Eifert in the third quarter on third-and-short, leading to a missed Kyle Brindza field goal.
“We were talking about individual man-to-man throws,” Kelly said. “Tyler Eifert’s 6-5, and I wanted the ball positioned up and away from the defender. He tried to lay it down. And he threw it a little later to T.J. (Jones) over a defender who buzzed underneath, T.J. made a big catch, and it was consequently a drive we capitalized on.”
Golson said he got the message.
“Sometimes I’ve got to let him be 6-5,” Golson said. “I can’t throw low balls to him.”
Golson’s 50-yard strike to Chris Brown following Oklahoma’s game-tying fourth-quarter touchdown was the game’s biggest play. And it was somewhat surprising given how well the Irish had controlled the clock with long, methodical, ground-based drives.
“I wanted to win the game,” he said.
Golson gains perspective
Golson has seen his share of snaps from the sideline this year, with Tommy Rees seeing plenty of action over the course of the season. But the redshirt freshman said sitting out last week’s BYU game while recovering from a concussion suffered against Stanford wound up being a blessing in disguise.
“It had a tremendous effect,” Golson said. “Just kind of seeing it outside of you actually being out there really helped me, seeing it from the sideline perspective. It made me realize a couple of things we need to work on. That’s what I felt we did this week in practice.”
More Heisman talk
Kansas State’s Collin Klein is the front-runner for the Heisman Trophy, but Irish linebacker Manti Te’o continues to make his case. He had 11 tackles, a big third-down sack in the first half, and a game-sealing interception of a tipped pass late in the fourth quarter.
“That’s not for me to decide,” Kelly said. “I tell you what, he represents all the things that the Heisman Trophy espouses — integrity and character and a great football player. But I think Manti’s more interested in beating Pittsburgh.”