Oklahoma Football: Winners & Losers from the Week 9 Game vs. Notre Dame
The Oklahoma Sooners entered the game against the undefeated Notre Dame Fighting Irish with a 5-1 record and as the eighth-ranked team in the nation.
Bob Stoops' team fought hard all night long, but two big plays cost the Sooners dearly.
These were Notre Dame's Cierre Wood bolting for a 62-yard touchdown and Everett Golson connecting with Chris Brown for a 50-yard gain on the second play after Blake Bell's game-tying touchdown.
Oklahoma couldn't recover from the latter and fell 30-13 to the Irish.
The Sooners take on the Iowa State Cyclones in Ames next week, but here are some winners and losers from Saturday night's game.
Winner: Jalen Saunders
What's in a number?
Apparently a lot.
Junior receiver Jalen Saunders switched his jersey from 14 to 18 this week and caught eight passes for 86 yards in the first quarter alone.
He had just five catches in his two appearances after missing the first four games but finished with a stellar 15 catches for 181 yards against Notre Dame.
It looks like Saunders has regained his 2011 form for the Sooners.
Loser: Kenny Stills
Stills' catch with three minutes remaining in the second quarter may have saved a pick-six, but he didn't have much success the rest of the night.
Though he finished the game with seven catches for 86 yards, Stills couldn't break past the defense as he is so accustomed to doing.
He took out his frustration on a defensive back after he was ruled out at the 1-yard line on his final catch with a pass interference on the next play—descriptive of Stills' night.
Winner: Blake Bell
Blake Bell converted two of the biggest plays of the night for the Sooners.
The "Belldozer" came into the game in the fourth quarter on 2nd-and-6 from the 13-yard line and carried the ball twice for four yards. Bell then executed a fake run on fourth down with a perfect pass to fullback Trey Millard for a first down.
He stretched into the end zone helped by his physical finish to set up the game-tying extra point on the following play.
It was also the first touchdown that Notre Dame allowed on the ground this season.
Loser: Landry Jones
Landry Jones had a great statistical game for the Sooners.
But unfortunately, games are never won on paper.
The senior finished 35 of 51 for 356 yards with one interception due to a combination of a tip and one of the greatest plays of the season by Manti Te'o—one of the best players in the country.
Oklahoma was, however, 4-13 on third down with Jones under center, and one conversion occurred on the final, somewhat meaningless drive.
Three times did the Sooners advance to midfield or farther and have the drive result in zero points, a disappointing result on the arm of Jones.
Winner: Aaron Colvin
Aaron Colvin was a bright spot on the Oklahoma defense despite its struggles overall.
The junior defensive back went into the game with 24 tackles on the season but nearly doubled his total.
Colvin finished the night with 10 tackles—including six solo and one for a loss.
Loser: Running Game
The Sooners ran the ball 16 times in the first half with very little success.
It had to get better, right?
Uh, I guess not.
Damien Williams had 13 carries for 29 yards and to add injury to insult, he was knocked out of the game on the Sooners' final drive. According to ESPN's Jake Trotter, it may not be a routine injury.
The trio of Bell, Trey Millard and Brennan Clay combined for 21 yards on eight carries.
Oklahoma's official stat on the ground was 24 carries for 15 yards.
Winners: Michael Hunnicutt and Tress Way
The Sooners' specialists did their job all night long.
Michael Hunnicutt converted on his two field goals in the first half from 28 and 30 yards and had one touchback.
Punter Tress Way launched a 60-yard punt and averaged 42 yards per on the night.
Each punt by the senior left the Irish inside their own 25-yard line, including three inside the 10.
Loser: Gabe Ikard
Center Gabe Ikard had two errant snaps on the night, and man, did they sting.
The first was on the opening possession of the game after the Sooners had gained 42 yards on the first five plays before Ikard snapped the ball to Jones—who wasn't in the area.
Ikard's mistimed snap was a drive-killer as it resulted in a 19-yard loss on the play.
The second was on the all-important possession after Kyle Brinza give the Irish a 10-point advantage with less that four minutes remaining in the game.
Oklahoma faced a 2nd-and-19 after Ikard's snap went between Jones' legs and never allowed the Sooners to find a rhythm on a drive that had to result in points.