Sunday, October 28, 2012
What we learned about Notre Dame at OU
By Matt Fortuna
Here's what we can draw from the Irish's 30-13 win at Oklahoma.
1. Notre Dame is back. No, not "relevant" or whatever. The Irish are always relevant. But this year they are back as a national title contender with a clear path to 11-0 before a regular-season finale at rival USC. That could be fun.
2. Everett Golson grew up. Plenty of questions surrounded the redshirt freshman in his first start in two weeks: How would he respond to missing last week? How would he fare in this type of environment? He answered all those questions emphatically, leading the Irish to 17 fourth-quarter points, protecting the football and bouncing back from a nasty third-quarter hit in the process. A big, big step for a young signal-caller.
3. Manti Te'omight have gotten his Heisman moment. A diving pick that will be picked and repicked apart stood, sealing the deal for the Irish's eighth win of the season. Te'o notched interception No. 5 on the season and delivered the kind of prime-time performance that people remember -- even if you play on defense. He might have wrapped up a trip to New York in the process.
4. That defense is pretty good, too. An Oklahoma offense averaging 52 points over its previous three games was grounded Saturday night, scoring just 13 despite not even turning the ball over until late in the fourth quarter. Defensive coordinator Bob Diaco deserves a ton of credit for his game plan, as the unit absorbed a couple of quick blows early and never gave up the big play everyone had been expecting. (Yes, it still allowed a rushing touchdown, but I'm sure Irish fans will forgive.)