Notre Dame improved to a perfect 7-0 with a 17-14 win over BYU on Saturday, and while this is the Irish's best start in a decade, it cannot hide the fact that the offense has been struggling.
In its last two games, Notre Dame has mustered just a combined 37 points, and seven of those points came in overtime. That output is far below the 27.3 points-per-game average the Irish carried into Saturday.
While Notre Dame's excellent defense has allowed this team to win those low-scoring games, this team needs a little more from their offense if they want to keep this win streak going.
The good news for the Irish is that there are plenty of signs pointing to this offense getting back on track.
Part of the reason for the Irish's recent struggles is that they have been playing excellent defenses. For instance, BYU entered its game with Notre Dame third in the nation in points allowed.
They also sported an eye-catching low 2.2 yards per carry.
The Irish shredded that run defense by gaining 270 yards at 6.3 yards per carry. In that game, the Irish carried the ball 43 times to just 17 passes. So BYU knew Notre Dame was going to run the ball; they just couldn't do anything to stop it.
The Irish out-muscled BYU. They were winning in the trenches, and their host of ball-carriers consistently gained positive yards after contact.
The Irish will have similar success on the ground against Oklahoma.
While the Sooners entered Week 8 at a solid 17th in the nation in points allowed, they have not been playing the stiffest rushing attacks.
Prior to Saturday, the Sooners were allowing an average of 4.0 yards per carry. While that in itself is not a terrible number, the Sooners have only faced one running game anywhere near as physical or as deep as Notre Dame's: Kansas State.
Oklahoma allowed Kansas State to rush for 213 yards at 4.8 per carry as it fell to the Wildcats 24-19 in their lone loss to the season.
Notre Dame will have its way on the ground against Oklahoma. It is too physical a run game for the Sooners to contain, and that will set up their offense for success. It will make life easy on whichever quarterback starts for the Irish, and that will lead to a more productive outing for the offense.
The Notre Dame defense is the heart of this team, and it will keep them in every game, but they still need the offense to build up some confidence. Building that confidence will not be a problem against this Oklahoma squad.
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