Reminiscing the defining games of the modern era: ND tops Oklahoma
Notre Dame stormed into Norman, Oklahoma to take on Bob Stoops and the 8th ranked Oklahoma Sooners on the evening of October 28th, 2012. By far, this was the biggest and most difficult test of the current season for the Irish who found themselves 7–0 and atop the college football world.
A win against Oklahoma under the current circumstances of Notre Dame’s season would propel the Irish into an elite class of teams, solidifying their place as a legitimate national tile contender. Being 7–0 had already opened eyes as fans and the viewing public had started to take ND seriously, but they needed that one signature win against a top tier team to get the buy-in of the entire nation.
Notre Dame being Independent allows for exciting and diverse scheduling of opponents. This, among a nice television contract, is one of the more beneficial perks of not having a conference affiliation. Instead of having a schedule comprised of the same opponents year after year, Notre Dame has the opportunity to schedule home-and-home game series’ with College Football powerhouse programs across all conferences. The traditional USC, Stanford, and Navy games will maintain, but the ability to schedule teams such as Oklahoma, Michigan, Georgia, and Ohio State in upcoming years is beneficial for all programs involved.
Notre Dame at Oklahoma in 2012 was a game meant everything both Notre Dame and Oklahoma. Brian Kelly was on a journey to stay perfect and protect his chances for a National Championship bid. Meanwhile, Oklahoma came into the contest already walking on eggshells, trying to avoid slipping to two losses on the season. In Norman, two losses before November will never be in the threshold of acceptable performance.
Led by Heisman finalist, Manti Te’o, the Irish defense came out strong, holding the Sooners to just 6 points until late in the 3rd Quarter of play. Manti went on to record both an interception and a sack on Sooner QB Landry Jones. Notre Dame did not offer much in the realm of offense until AB Everett Golson connected with WR Chris Brown for 50 yeards, and an eventual rushing touchdown to go ahead 20–13 late in the 4th quarter. Te’o snagged an interception to give Notre Dame the ball back and ice the game, eventually winning 30–13.
Notre Dame stayed perfect in 2012, executing their overall goal and finishing the season ranked #1 in the Nation. The Irish came up well short in the National Championship game, losing to Alabama 42–14.
Stoops’ Sooners ended the season with a devastating 41–13 loss to Johnny Manziel and the Texas A&M Aggies in the Cotton Bowl, finishing the year at 10–3.