Notre Dame has been perfect through the first half of its season. However, the Fighting Irish have relied on a great defense to mask a pitiful offense, which will be their downfall against the Oklahoma Sooners in two weeks.
During the Fighting Irish’s three wins against ranked opponents, they’ve done a great job of shutting down their opponents' offenses.
Against then-No. 10 Michigan State, they held the Spartans' leading rusher Le’veon Bell to 77 yards on 19 carries. The result was the Irish winning 20-3. Against then-No. 18 Michigan, Notre Dame forced Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson to turn the ball over four times, winning 13-6.
Last week, Notre Dame held the then-No. 17 Stanford Cardinal, a team that scored 54 points the week before, to only 13 points, winning in overtime 20-13.
The common theme among those victories is that the Irish defense held its opponents to 13 points or less. However, in those three wins, the offense scored a total of 53 points.
This way of winning can only work for so long.
The defense is going to get tired, and they are bound to run up against an offense with an experienced quarterback who can break them down.
In two weeks, the Irish will go up against this type of offense when they travel to Norman, Oklahoma to take on Landry Jones and the Oklahoma Sooners.
Against Michigan State and Stanford, the Irish defense was able to force first-year inexperienced quarterbacks into bad throws because of the coverage. However, against Oklahoma and Jones, they’ll be going up against a three-year starter who’s played in multiple big games.
On the year, Jones has had a solid season. His numbers may not be the stat-heavy numbers that some of the other quarterbacks in the Big 12 have put up (see: Smith, Geno; West Virginia). But he has navigated the Sooners' offense with an efficient game plan each week.
Through five games in 2012, he’s had two touchdown passes in four of those five games. He’s thrown for 200 or more yards and has had a passer rating of 120 or more in each game.
Plus, its not like Jones will be coming into the game against Notre Dame after a tough game the week prior. Oklahoma has what should be an easy victory over the 1-5 Kansas Jayhawks before facing Notre Dame.
Jones and the offense will have plenty of time to find holes in the Irish defense, which he can exploit with his talented group of receivers.
With the Sooners offense averaging 43.2 points per game and the defense allowing only 17 points per game, it will be very difficult for the Irish defense to keep the Sooners off the scoreboard while putting up enough points on offense.
Oh, and one final thing that Notre Dame should know before its matchup against the Sooners. Since Oklahoma head coach Bob Stoops took the helm as the head coach, he has amassed a home record of 77-3.
They say the Irish have luck. They’ll need a lot of it when they head into Norman to take on the Sooners.