Notre Dame vs. Oklahoma Preview

Oct. 27, 2012; Norman, OK, USA; Notre Dame Fighting Irish offensive tackle Christian Lombard (74) signals touchdown after quarterback Everett Golson (5) (not shown) scored in the fourth quarter against the Oklahoma Sooners at Oklahoma Memorial Stadium. Notre Dame won 30-13. Mandatory Credit: Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports
Oct. 27, 2012; Norman, OK, USA; Notre Dame Fighting Irish offensive tackle Christian Lombard (74) signals touchdown after quarterback Everett Golson (5) (not shown) scored in the fourth quarter against the Oklahoma Sooners at Oklahoma Memorial Stadium. Notre Dame won 30-13. Mandatory Credit: Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

Notre Dame QB’s

Tommy Rees is coming off his worst game of the season for the Irish in the win over Michigan St. He completed only 14 of 34 passes for 142 yards and 1 touchdown.  He was overthrowing receivers often which led to many incompletions as well. On the season, he has completed 79 of 142 of attempts for 1,111 passing yards along with a completion percentage of 56.0, 8 passing touchdowns, and 2 interceptions. Andrew Hendrix has appeared in 3 of 4 games this season with just 1 completion on 5 attempts for 9 yards. Notre Dame has the 32nd ranked pass offense in the nation.

Notre Dame QB’s vs. Oklahoma Pass Defense:

The Sooners have the 39th ranked pass defense and are allowing 190.7 passing yards a game and have allowed zero passing touchdowns. The Sooners have 3 interceptions and are allowing opposing teams to complete just 51.3 percent of their passes. Tommy Rees will need to avoid overthrowing his receiver and avoid locking on to any to prevent predictability. If Rees can consistently complete passes, avoid overthrowing, and play mistake-free football, then that will help significantly as Rees needs to bounce back from a very inaccurate performance.

Edge: Even

Oklahoma QB’s:

Trevor Knight opened the season as starter, but isn’t starting anymore after Blake Bell took over. Knight completed 21 of 48 passes and his completion percentage is only 43.8 percent for 205 yards, 4 touchdowns, and 3 interceptions. Blake Bell has been quite accurate with 69.8 percent of his passes completed. He has done this on 30 of 43 yards for 451 yards, 4 touchdowns, and zero interceptions. He also has a long completion of 82 yards. Both quarterbacks were able to run the ball if needed as Knight had 20 attempts for 145 yards and a 7.2 yard average and Bell has 55 yards on 14 attempts for a 3.9 yard average, but has zero rushing touchdowns. This is a bit surprising considering that last season, Blake Bell had 11 rushing touchdowns last season that tied him for 1st overall on the team in rushing touchdowns.

Oklahoma QB’s vs. Notre Dame Pass Defense:

Oklahoma might have the biggest quarterback the Irish face all season who stands at 6’6” and 252 pounds. Bell is a force in the red zone with his history of gaining rushing touchdowns and has been referred to as the Belldozer (also in part to the Sooners having the Belldozer package on offense). While he is known best for running the ball, the Irish will need to account for him with passing the ball considering how accurate he has been and able to throw the deep ball as well. Notre Dame has the 67th ranked passing defense that has allowed opposing teams to complete 54.1 percent of their passes and have allowed 8 passing touchdowns and 228.3 yards per game. Notre Dame’s pass defense has 3 interceptions as well and 2 of the 3 have gone for touchdowns, while the third led to a touchdown drive for the Irish. Bell is one of the top quarterbacks the Irish face all season long.

Edge: Oklahoma

Notre Dame RB’s:

The Irish haven’t been as impressive in the running game as they are ranked 100th in the nation with an average of only 114.2 yards per game. Cam McDaniel leads the Irish in rushing yards with 169 yards on 45 attempts for an average of 3.8 yards and 2 rushing touchdowns. Amir Carlisle has 157 rushing yards on 33 attempts and a 4.8 yard average. George Atkinson III had 121 rushing yards on 24 attempts and a 5.0 yard average and 1 rushing touchdown. Tarean Folston and Greg Bryant have 26 and 14 rushing yards, respectively.

Notre Dame RB’s vs. Oklahoma Rush Defense:

The Irish have been trying to search for their identity on the ground, but have struggled at times by facing strong run defenses all season long. Oklahoma won’t help either as they have the 17th ranked rush defense that allows only 100.5 yards per game and for opponents to just get 3.9 yards per rush and 3 rushing touchdowns. The Irish might lean more on Cam McDaniel, the leading rusher in the last couple of games and one who has scored 2 very important touchdowns. The Irish should still try to work in the freshmen as well so that they can get playing time.

Edge: Oklahoma

Oklahoma RB’s:

Brennan Clay leads Oklahoma in rushing yards with 262 yards on 45 carries for an average of 5.8 yards per rush along with 2 touchdowns. Damien Williams has 161 rushing yards on 37 attempts and a 4.4 yard average. Roy Finch has 110 rushing yards on 15 attempts (7.3 yards per rush) and Keith Ford has 66 yards on 11 attempts (6 yards per rush) and a rushing touchdown. The Sooners have the 16th ranked rushing offense and have an average of 271 rushing yards per game.

Oklahoma RB’s vs. Notre Dame Rush Defense:

The Irish have the 28th ranked rushing defense that allows 114.2 rushing yards a game and 2 rushing touchdowns. Opponents have been averaging 3.7 yards a rush on the Irish. The Irish have done decent in the last couple of games against the run after being unremarkable in the first two games. The Irish will need to account for Blake Bell in the red zone in addition to the main running game. The Sooners have a variety of players who are able to run the ball and that can pose challenges, but Oklahoma faces a much stronger run defense in Notre Dame’s after playing against weak run defenses in the first three games of the season.

Edge: Even

Notre Dame WR’s and TE’s:

TJ Jones and DaVaris Daniels both are nearly tied for the receiving yards lead. DaVaris Daniels has 305 receiving yards on 20 catches for a 15.2 yard average and 4 receiving touchdowns. TJ Jones has 21 receptions for 304 yards for a 14.5 yard average and 2 receiving touchdowns. Tight end Troy Niklas has 9 catches for 158 yards, 2 receiving touchdowns, and a 17.6 yard average. Chris Brown has 7 catches for 125 yards with a 17.9 yard average and Corey Robinson has 4 catches for 66 yards and a 16.5 yard average. CJ Prosise has 3 catches for 25 yards with an 8.3 yard average and William Fuller has 1 reception for 37 yards.

Notre Dame WR’s vs. Oklahoma DB’s:

The Irish continue to show tremendous depth the receiver position with freshmen Corey Robinson and William Fuller both making important plays that also were first down conversions too. The Sooners had lost most of their starters in the secondary going into this season and while they are ranked in the top 40, they haven’t had an impressive schedule with 2 of the 3 opponents being in non-BCS conferences. The other team, Big 12 conference opponent West Virginia, had came into the season with a new starter at quarterback and their top 3 receivers from last season gone. The Irish have the most talented receiving unit that Oklahoma will face so far this season and could pose problems with increasing depth.

Edge: Notre Dame

Oklahoma WR’s and TE’s:

Oklahoma lost their top 2 players from last season that combined for more than 150 receptions, 1800 plus receiving yards, and 16 receiving touchdowns. Sterling Shepard has 11 receptions for 146 receiving yards with a 13.3 yard average and 2 touchdowns while Jalen Saunders has 10 catches for 137 yards,3 touchdowns, and a 13.7 yard average. Durron Neal has 6 catches for 91 yards and a 15.2 yard average and LaColtan Bester has 6 receptions for 69 yards (11.5 yard average). Jaz Reynolds has 5 catches for 121 yards and a team-high 24.2 yards per catch.

Oklahoma WR’s vs. Notre Dame DB’s:

The Irish must remain consistent in the secondary against Oklahoma. They have quite a few players that they can target in the passing offense and the secondary has been a mark down at times from the impressive unit from last season, but have done well in the last 2 games and are showing improvement, if they do well against the Sooners, the chance of a turnaround from the consistency issues in early games will be more than likely.

Edge: Even

Notre Dame OL:

The offensive line hasn’t done as well in run blocking with a 3.7 average per rush and 114.2 rushing yards per game. They didn’t allow a sack against the Spartans, but opponents have had little difficulty in getting into the backfield with the line allowing 21 tackles for loss. Pass protection has been better with only 3 sacks allowed and only 2 quarterback hurries.

Notre Dame OL vs. Oklahoma DL:

The Sooners have not been as productive in getting to the quarterback with only 3 sacks, but have 10 quarterback hurries. They can get into the backfield with 12 tackles for loss. The defensive line on its own has only combined for 1 sack with 2 players combining for that one sack. The unit was a younger one coming in that lost most of its starters with the lone returnee being Chuka Ndulue. The Irish might be more productive with Oklahoma not being as strong and experienced on the line and should be able to keep Tommy Rees protected and look better in the run blocking area.

Edge: Notre Dame

Oklahoma OL:

One of the stronger units for Oklahoma this season is the offensive line. Run blocking has solid with 5.4 yards per rush and a very impressive 271.7 rushing yards per game. They have allowed 4 sacks on the season, but have allowed 19 tackles for loss in just 3 games. The unit is more experienced with the versatile Gabe Ikard anchoring the line at center and has started at guard as well before.

Oklahoma OL vs. Notre Dame DL:

The Irish have one of the most talented defensive lines in the country and gives the strong offensive line of the Sooners are challenge. The offensive line will face a Notre Dame team that has 4 sacks this season, 15 quarterback hurries, and 17 tackles for loss. The battles in the trenches once again are important here and red zone defense by Notre Dame will need to be at its best with Blake Bell being a red zone threat on the ground. The Irish will need to really contain the run game and keep Bell out of the end zone.

Edge: Even

Notre Dame DL:

The Irish welcome back Sheldon Day, who was injured against Purdue and was quite active in the game and was heavily missed in the close win over Michigan St. Louis Nix III has 14 tackles, 1 tackle for loss, and 1 pass breakup. Stephon Tuitt has 10 tackles, 2 tackles for loss, 2 sacks, 1 interception for a touchdown, and 3 quarterback hurries. Sheldon Day has 7 tackles and 1 tackle for loss while Kona Schwenke has 3 tackles and 1 quarterback hurry.

Notre Dame DL vs. Oklahoma OL:

The Irish face an Oklahoma offensive line that keeps their quarterbacks protected, but opponents can get into the backfield with the 19 tackles for loss. Notre Dame will really need to contain the running game of the Sooners. This matchup is a balanced one between two really great units.

Edge: Even

Oklahoma DL:

The Sooners lost a solid amount of players from their defensive line this season and returned only one starter in Chuka Ndulue. Charles Tapper has 14 tackles, 0.5 tackles for loss, 0.5 sacks, and 2 quarterback hurries. Geneo Grissom has 8 tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss, and 1 pass breakup. Jordan Phillips has 6 tackles, 1pass breakup, 1 tackle for loss, and the other 0.5 of the defensive line’s only sack. Chuka Ndulue has just 1 tackle and 1 fumble recovery.

Oklahoma DL vs. Notre Dame OL:

The Sooners haven’t done much in the stat department on the defensive line. Considering that they haven’t accounted for many sacks and haven’t been able to get into the backfield for many tackles for loss poses a problem for them. Notre Dame has done well in the pass protection area and should be able to keep Tommy Rees protected so that he can get passes off in enough time, but Rees needs to avoid overthrowing his receivers. The Irish should be able to contain the less experienced Oklahoma defensive line.

Edge: Notre Dame

Notre Dame LB’s:

Jarrett Grace earned his first start and started over Dan Fox in the Michigan St. game. Grace has played rather well this season and continues to improve and now has the lead in tackles on the team with 28 tackles and has 1 tackle for loss and a pass breakup. Carlo Calabrese has 26 tackles with 4 tackles for loss (team-high) and 1 fumble recovery. Dan Fox has 27 tackles and 3 tackles for loss. Prince Shembo has been able to put pressure on opposing quarterbacks with a team high 7 quarterback hurries with 11 tackles. True freshman Jaylon Smith continues to be a player with impact and has started every game in his career at Notre Dame so far and has 11 tackles, 1 tackle for loss, and 1 pass breakup. While he hasn’t started any games, Ishaq Williams has had importance to the defense and has 9 tackles, 1 tackle for loss, and 1 sack.

Notre Dame LB’s vs. Oklahoma:

The linebackers will be important in support to the front seven as Oklahoma has a strong running game and also in the red zone with Blake Bell. The play of the inside linebackers will need to be strong and Jarrett Grace is good in coverage and run support and will help. Stopping the running game is going to be as important as shutting down the passing game.

Edge: Even

Oklahoma LB’s:

Senior outside linebacker Corey Nelson has the team in lead in tackles and tackles for loss with 20 and 3, respectively. He also has 1 sack, 3 pass breakups, and 2 quarterback hurries. Frank Shannon is second in tackles with 19 tackles and also has 1 tackle for loss and 2 quarterback hurries. Eric Striker has 10 tackles, 1 tackle for loss, and 2 quarterback hurries.

Oklahoma LB’s vs. Notre Dame:

Oklahoma only lists two starters on their depth chart for the linebacker spot as they tend to use more defensive backs as they face spread offenses. The Irish have tended to pass more more this season with the running game struggling at times. The linebackers will need to account for Troy Niklas in coverage as he has been able to make plays in the receiving game for the Irish at tight end. Supporting the defensive line will be important as well.

Edge: Oklahoma

Notre Dame DB’s:

The Notre Dame secondary has been a notch down from thee unit of the previous season, but they have contributed key plays that have turned the corner in games for the Irish. Matthias Farley’s interception against Michigan St. led to the game-winning drive with a Cam McDaniel rushing touchdown and Bennett Jackson scored on an interception return that put the Irish up a couple of scores in the win over Purdue. Bennett Jackson has 24 tackles, 1 tackle for loss, 1 sack, 1 interception, and 1 quarterback hurry for the Irish. Matthias Farley has 15 tackles, 1 tackle for loss, 1 interception, and 2 pass breakups for the Irish. KeiVarae Russell has 12 tackles and a team-high 4 pass breakups. Elijah Shumate has 10 tackles with 1 tackle for loss and Austin Collinsworth has 6 tackles and 2 hurries.

Notre Dame DB’s vs. Oklahoma WR’s:

The Sooners have quite a few players to target in the passing game. The Irish have been able to turn things around a little in the secondary, but they must remain consistent. With the main focus being Sterling Shepard and Jalen Saunders, Notre Dame must account for them and the other players who have made an impact such as Durron Neal, Jaz Reynolds, and LaColtan Bester.

Edge: Even

Oklahoma DB’s:

Aaron Colvin is considered one of the top cornerbacks in the country coming into this season and has 8 tackles, 0.5 tackles for loss, and 1 pass breakup. Zack Sanchez has 15 tackles, 0.5 tackles for loss, and 2 pass breakups. Quentin Hayes has 12 tackles, 0.5 tackles for loss, and 1 forced fumble. Julian Wilson has 8 tackles, 0.5 tackles for loss, 1 interception, and 2 passes broken up. Gabe Lynn has 5 tackles, 2 interceptions, 1 pass breakup, and 1 fumble recovery (27 yards)

Oklahoma DB’s vs. Notre Dame WR’s:

The Oklahoma defensive backs will have quite a task in accounting for the receiving unit that Notre Dame has. TJ Jones DaVaris Daniels, and Chris Brown will be the main focus for them, but also they have to account for emerging freshmen in Corey Robinson and William Fuller, and even at tight end in Troy Niklas who can be a coverage nightmare with his size. If Tommy Rees avoids overthrowing his receivers, it will pose many problems for the Sooners secondary.

Edge: Notre Dame

Notre Dame Kicking Game:

Despite a blocked punt and a missed field goal, Kyle Brindza had a big impact in the win over Michigan St. He has made 5 of 7 field goals (71.4 percent) with a long of 44 yards. Brindza also punts and has been solid with a 40.4 yard average on 14 punts with a long of 51 yards and has 2 touchbacks, 5 fair caught, 2 inside the 20, and 2 punts of 50 or more yards. Alex Wulfeck has also punted as well with 2 punts for 87 yards (43.5 yard average) with a long of 49. He has 1 touchback, and the other was fair caught inside the 20. Kyle Brindza is averaging 64.3 yards a kickoff on 22 overall with 12 touchbacks.

Oklahoma Kicking Game:

Mike Hunnicutt has made 8 of 9 field goals with a long of 44. His only miss was a 35 yarder on his fourth field goal attempt in the win over West Virginia. Jed Barnett is averaging 44.1 yards per punt on 13 punts with a long of 54 yards. He has zero touchbacks, 9 have been fair caught, 7 have been inside the 20, and 3 punts have been for 50 or more yards. Nick Hodgson is averaging 64.6 yards per kickoff on 22 kickoffs and has 15 touchbacks, but one has gone out of bounds.

Stronger Unit: Oklahoma

Notre Dame Return Game:

George Atkinson III has returned 11 kickoffs for 302 yards and has a 27.5 yard average with a long of 50. TJ Jones has returned 5 punts for 43 yards with an 8.6 yard average and a long of 18.

Oklahoma Return Game:

Try Franks has returned only 2 kickoffs for 52 yards (26 yard average) with a long of 28. Brennan Clay has returned 1 kickoff for 20 yards. Jalen Saunders has returned 8 punts for 108 yards for an average of 13.5 yards a return with a long of 45 yards.

Stronger Unit: Notre Dame

Everything Else:

Oklahoma is coming off a bye week after winning at home against Tulsa the previous week. This will be their first road game of the season and don’t play another true road game until October 19th at Kansas (They play Texas at a neutral site on October 12th). The Irish handed Oklahoma a home loss last season that was one of only five home losses of Bob Stoops tenure at Oklahoma so far as Oklahoma has been one of the hardest places to play at for opposing teams as they had a period of 39 consecutive games won at home and went undefeated at home for 5 straight seasons. The Irish come off a close win at home over Michigan St. and are playing their 3rd home game of the season this weekend. Quarterback Blake Bell will be making his first career road start against the Irish and scored the only touchdown for Oklahoma in the 30-13 loss to Notre Dame last season. The Irish will need to contain the Oklahoma offense once again and remain consistent on defense. The running game will need to get things going after being underwhelming in the last three games and Tommy Rees will need to improve on a game against Michigan St. that saw him overthrow receivers very often. The level of competition that Oklahoma has faced so far has been unimpressive this season while the Irish are coming off 3 consecutive games against Big 10 competition.

Prediction: Notre Dame 31, Oklahoma 17

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33 Comments

  1. Thanks, Ron.

    So, basically, if we go by the modern era, then ND is #2. Like I said, leave it NBC to pick the stats that least favor ND.

    I just don’t know who in the ND administration supervises the program’s relationship with the network. My guess is some overpaid VP who’s either an Ivory-tower former academic or some former corporate type who’s in bed with NBC. I don’t know buth they’re doing a half-ass job.

    Why can’t ND demand that the coverage be at least neutral and not anti-ND!

  2. Thanks, irisheye62,

    Good questions, all of them. Can’t say at this point I know anyomre than you or anyone else on here what’s wroing with BK (over his head?), this team (over confident?), the D (over rated?), or the program as a whole (just over?). I don’t know, but I do know I’m frustrated as hell ND can’t get any traction from season to season. We’ve seen this with the previous 3 regimes, where one good season is followed by a death spiral that leads to a new coach and staff. BK seems to be replicating that.

    I doubt we can beat ASU unless Diaco pulls a major return to last season’s form. I just don’t see it happening, though. But there’s no reason to not beat SC without a HC or its best O player in Lee.

    What’s sad is we can’t even take advantage of USC’s plight on the recruiting trail. Imagine if we were good, we could poach a key recruit or two from them. But the way we look favors Ohio St., Michigan, Bama, etc. getting even stronger.

    I really wanted to believe ND would win. I even perhaps let some of sunshine of the spotless mind types on here influence me to throw caution to the wind. Never again! This staff and team don’t deserve that kind of blind faith in them. Let BK put together a championship season or two and 30-game home winning streak before we start building a monument to him. What he did at Grand Valley and at Cinci are in the past. Needless to say, ND isn’t Grand Vallley St.!

    It’s time for this team to step up big time. The season can be saved. Upset ASU. Take care of business against SC and the underdogs on the schedule. Be competitive against Stanford (which should be ND’s benchmark as a program). Go 9-3. Win a decent bowl game. Finish 10-3. Get the best recruiting class possible and keep it together so the players actually play at ND. Develop that 4-5 star talent. Get better and better. Perhaps in a few seasons ND is back in the hunt for a NC.

    BTW: NBC put a stat that withh 11 NCs ND is tied for 4th place. I thought only Bama had more NCs. Can someone help me out with what data NBC was using. Yet again “our” own station screws us over!

    1. College football championships are fuzzy at best because it comes down to how you claim them.

      Princeton 28
      Yale 26
      Alabama 15
      ND 11
      Michigan 11
      USC 11

    2. I think we should evaluate how Stanford approaches their selection of student players as it is a similar institute of actual higher learning to ND. Keep in mind also it was the success of some Lou Holtz teams containing some less academically proficient student athletes back in the late 80’s that were highly competitive that led to the current TV contract with NBC because of that success. I might get lambasted for this but I say this with a lot hesitation but it may be time to evaluate our admission standards to look for more exceptions for some of our athletes. We will not win a NC with the current student athletes we select. Last January showed that with convincing results. I know that is heresy for some here and I understand that. On the other hand, why can’t we look at producing the best lawyers, doctors, accountants, or professional working athletes. I guess it’s frustrating to see just how far away we have become from the elite playing teams regardless of their quality student athletes-the NCAA says their legitimate though as I have said there is a question of validity of “student” for many schools’ student athletes. I remember Holtz, even Devine, and Ara’s teams being legit & in the mix for titles. As SFR said earlier, we are in a pattern where the last round of coaches have taken us no where but down. I thought last year was a sign of moving into higher competitiveness but now I am seeing it as a damn exception. If Golson was around, I think offensively we would have been a much better team but given what he did, it makes me wonder how closely the coaching staff were keeping tabs on him. I just have a huge sense of pessimism right now. It just doesn’t seem that there is a real bright future. Maybe my blahs from yesterday are coloring my perspectives. I just want to see a better product on the field as a longtime fan. Sigh

      Lets go Irish

  3. Steel Fan–you are right on–and you know your history.
    As for football–I had a feeling we would lose this one.
    October will be interesting now that Kiffin is fired from USC.
    Will a new guy arrive and give them the boost they need and have a
    victory for morale over ND? Prior to that for ND just WHAT is Arizona State like this year? Are they that explosive? Were they lucky given the Wisconsin debacle? Who are they –AND who is ND?
    Our beloved ND appears to be tentative at times. I long to see the running game get better–and it has improved over Sparty and Oklahoma–somewhat.
    We cannot, we dare not, rely on the shotgun over and over and over and go for bombs on 3 and 1. I believe we have the men to do the job. I believe, however, the play calling has been questionable when we could have had more clock, possession and success. Corners are TOO soft and the opponent can pass TOO much with TOO much success there.
    ( That said, btw, Mich. didn’t win over ND–ND lost to Mich.–the psychology of the outcome of Ann Arbor was spelled out in the latter part of the 2nd and 4rth quarter! If we played Mich today–different outcome–IF we don’t turn it over!)
    No we are not last years team–and I didn’t expect that–nor do I see disaster. Honestly, this may be good in the long run as I pray we don’t get in over our heads in the post season –assuming nothing in the meantime.
    GO IRISH! Let those of us who love ND bleed the blue, gold and green and never ever waiver NOR apologize to those who bash the University, the Catholic Faith, the team–and the ideals of Notre Dame!

  4. To finish my thought on Vatican II, I meant to say it apparently gave priests a b it more leeway in their performance of the Mass. From what I gather, however, some ultra-traditionalists didn’t and don’t like that. That’s why so many left for the schismatic SSPV and SSPX sects.

  5. The fish throwing happened throughout the South in the 60s and 70s. As proof of what “Chi-town Copper” says, just look at how long it took for the Ohio St. president to step down. Had he said what said about Catholics about blacks, Jews, gays, insert protected minority group here, he would’ve been fired on the spot. He wouldn’t have even been allowed to finish his speech much less take days to resign. Too many Catholics are fooled by erstwhile political alliances with conservative Protestants, who happen to agree with the Church on a limited range of social issues. It’s precisely these groups, however,that are the most anti-Catholic. Sadly, in many cases ideology and not theology is driving these alliances for both conservative Protestants and Catholics. Many if not most of these denominations still have official statements about the pope being the Anti-Christ.

    If I recall, “Chi-town” is indeed an officer. Do you hear anti-Catholic remarks around the work place? If you live and work in Chicago, however, that might be mitigated given the large percentage of the population that is Catholic.

    The Notre Dame football team was a source of pride for generations of Catholic immigrants and not only the Irish. I remember as a young child in the early 70s getting a recap of the ND game from the priest before the start of Mass. (This was immediately after Vatican II, which .) It was a great source of pride for us all. How great would it be to once again have a dominant team to be proud of!

  6. I remember seeing that movie years ago on DVD. This was before Mel sort of went off the deep end. I distinctly remember that the Moore character was Catholic, although I believe his wife (played by the eternally beautiful Madeline Stowe) was Protestant of some kind. Here’s what’s interesting. In discussing the movie with evangelical friends, they assured me that in real life the Moore character (I forget his rank during the movie) was really not a Catholic. I thought that it was strange that the movie makers would take such poetic license with the faith of a still living person. So I did some research of my own and it didn’t take me long to discover that now Gen. Moore is a devout Catholic. At West Point, he was a regular at Mass and often prayed the Rosary.

    Now, my question is this. Where in the world did my friends get their information from? Did they just make it up? My theory is that their anti-Catholicism is such that they couldn’t bring themselves to accept that such a brave patriot could be a “papist” (as they would say). Such is the extent of anti-Catholic prejudice in this country even today that other Christians would bear false witness against the Catholic faith and against individual Catholics. I’d be interested to hear from “Sad Warrior” if he overhears any such bigotry from his comrades.

    I’ll maintain to the day I die that a major factor in the hatred of Notre Dame football, besides it past success, is anti-Catholicism.

    1. I absolutely agree. I read a book about ND football, I think it was ‘Talking Irish,’ and it told about the bowl game against Bama in the 70’s where the Baptists threw fish at the ND players because of their observance of meatless Fridays. Well Nick Saban is a practicing Catholic red time. I’ve said it before, Catholicism is the last acceptable form of bigotry in this country. With ND as the American figure head of The Church (and NOT Ted Kennedy, Nancy Pelosi, former mayor Richard Daley, IL Gov Pat Quinn etc) there is always an undertone of religious hatred for many detractors who disagree with traditional marriage, right to life etc

      1. Chi-town–

        Speaking of fish throwing, the Baptists are STILL throwing fish at Catholics.
        One comment on radio recently
        ( from Columbus, Ohio North Baptist Church) was that the “Catholic Church was fromed from the worship of Baal and might as well be the Devil himself!”
        ( I liked the music I heard and then the Pastor spoke.
        Reason posted on this fb site?
        Anti-Catholicism is a main and pivotal reason many folks hate ND football. Plain-simple. Orthodox and Protestant Coaches and players alike have been to ND ( including the Jehovah;s witnesses founded in 1914) –but the bias against ND FOOTBALL is still anti-Catholic. Make no mistake about it. Facts are facts.

      2. BTW: These are the same people many conservative Catholics consider political allies. Be careful who you get into bed with. You might end up with a nasty rash (or worse!)!

    2. Steel Fan:

      ” A major factor in the hatred of Notre Dame Football, besides the past success is anti-Catholicism.”
      AMEN and AMEN!

      I arrived at a FAMILY Party wearing a Notre Dame Shirt.
      “Friends” of the family attacked like a hawk. Comments saying that NOtre Dame almost made them become an atheist. On and on it went and bashing the NBC contract. I reminded them that if their precious Ohio State were an independent, that they too-if they had the business saavy would do the same thing for all their home games. ( and OSU has an ENTIRE September filled with lower tiered teams-most at home even to
      8-9 a year at home. ) Irony is–osu president and his “those damn Catholics” comment got him out of a job. While “some” and “many” osu people may hate ND and say that ND “almost made them become an atheist” the irony is when I have to go through the OSU campus due to detours, I’m grateful that I’m NOT an atheist and that the crowning glory of my religion is not at the horseshoe or High Street and that the royal colors be it Advent, Easter and what have you is NOT scarlet and gray!

      Summary–ND wins or loses–damned if they do or damned if they don’t—-

      Anti-Catholicism? Given the tone of the country, In less than two generations, it will become worse. Thank GOD for a Blessed Hope as St. Paul writes–the same Hope available to all–for CHRIST HIMSELF is the ONLY Mercy for salvation.
      We need not be discouraged– for as JESUS HIMSELF said “Blessed are you when men speak all kinds of calony against you for MY sake–rejoice–for great is your reward in Heaven!

  7. “Sad Warrior,” No need to worry about style points this week. To quote the late Al Davis: “Just win, baby.” If it were possible, I’d take a win by 1/2 point.

    Needless to say, it would be nice to not have to drink any Kool Aid or pickle juice before, during, or after this game. I’d rather down a beer and celebrate a resounding victory than have to join in a round of depressing “well, there’s always next season” talk.

    What I hope to see is a team that comes out on fire and plays with both its head and its heart. Get the fans into the game quick and keep them into it all afternoon long.

    Go Irish!

    1. SFR-amen to that on all points! We never talk of next season or the future for that matter. Tomorrow is the future. That Pickle Juice is causing some here to really recall fond memories of ‘Road Sodas’ for pregame. We all agreed that free ‘Sodas’ brings the crowd to a crescendo pitch and it will be needed!

      Go Irish! Believers! Hooah!

  8. Yep, no WAY ND beats OU by 14. I think ND can and will win, but more in the realm of by 3, 4 or 7 points. I’d argue OU is the best team ND has faced this year, so the “stiffest competition” argument goes both ways on this one.

    1. Patrick-no one really knows what OU is or is not at this point in the season. We are sure solid but how solid? Believe in the win!

      Go Irish! Hooah!

  9. JDH-

    you are indeed correct about General Giap. He was employing the methods of Sun Tzu. This strategy proved horrendously disasterous for him in the Valley of Death (Nov. 1965) when the ‘new cavalry’ was deployed against the NVA. The idea was to not let your enemy, in this case opponent, utilize any of his advantages upon your troops. Consequently the ‘Boys of Garry Owen’ executed a stunning and miraculous rout of a finely tuned and battle hardened opponent. The Cav was outnumbered greatly as well. Giap had no idea until it was too late what Colonel Moore’s strategy was at that moment: extremely accurate artillery (Shembo Monster and Co.), massive air power (TR and recievers), and well trained ground pounding infantry troops(the lines and backs). Once the clocks were knocked off the NVA never remotely recovered. The Sooners need their clocks knocked off! We digress!

    We agree that you are dead on about OU’s schedule to this point, size of their O line (they do have an AA in their center), and how well TR controls the turnover battle. None for the Irish and capitalizing on theirs. We so hope you are very, very right!

    Pickle Juice! Go Irish! Hooah!

    1. Sad Warrior,
      Hal Moore is a legend. “We Were Soldiers Once and Young” is one of the best battlefield memoirs ever, IMHO. Those Calvary Troopers represent the best of what the Army is.

      1. JDH-

        First Cav is/were/are mighty fine for sure. General Moore is Legend. His views and memoirs were required reading for us all the way through Psyops. ‘Know thy enemy as thyself.’I wonder if he was an Irish Fan!? Had to be!

        Shaz-thanks for the words. Morale here is soaring right now for a variety of reasons and we believe this Irish football mania has a great influence on that. I wouldn’t trade our Sooner Dudes for anyone. They value the ND tradition and their own in an almost religious manner. Got to love that from them. And they’ve got the strange preminition they won’t be using and razors or bats as the Irish are going to strike first and hard! They are believers all the way! Saddle up! The journey is fast upon us!

        Go Irish!!! Believers!!! Hooah!!!

  10. Shazman and SFR-We have looked over all that we could get about Oklahoma (@ Toulmin-we saw your ‘error’ on Oklahomo, nice try Nimlout). Solid but not daunting by any means. Thus our brain trust concluded that the Irish need to just come out and really blister the Sooners physically from the get go. Nothing cheap or dirty, just knock their clocks off so often and so hard that they can not establish any identidy. Units have a tendency to lose cohesion and direction when they are getting the crap knocked out of them repeatedly. It’s like having a Shembo Monster Dance and the Sooners are the ragdolls. The idea is an ancient one from Sun Tzu- grab them by the belt and pull them in so tight they can’t breath or catch their breath. And of course ignite some imagination with the offensive play calling. The talent is there for the Irish to send the Sooners to the ‘Woodshed.’ Believing is very important.

    Our Sooner Dudes confessed they are worried about an Irish “Uprising’ that would see ND find its ‘break out’ game. Yet they remain optimistic and gentlemanly as always. Very impressed by the Irish travelers to Norman last year. I hope we can be as accomodating; especially with the running game churning out some big yards!

    As for the pickle juice, we would prefer the beer or vodka. Unfortunately that is not on our menu here.

    Chow time. Go Irish! Hooah!

    1. Wasn’t it Vo Nguyen Giap who was credited with the belt buckle quote? I suppose Sun Tzu could have said something similar.

      Anyway, I do expect to see our defensive line put tremendous pressure on Bell and Co. OU’s offensive line is not particularly large from what I understand, not to mention they’ve been playing high schools yet this year.

      As I said before, Rees’s performance and lack of TO’s will decide this game. GO IRISH!

    2. THB’s post has one fatal flaw, (no, not Oklahomo) but rather predicting that your team will allow a 2 point saftey.

      Poor form old boy.

      That happends to be one of the worst omens’in the football world!

      I certainly hope he has a four leaf clover, or knows a good counter-curse!
      Perhaps he can get Father Jenkins to absolve him before kick-off.

      But Warrior, as you say, “Believing is very important”

      Therefore since you fighting lads have no brewski’s (which seems very unfair) “I believe” that I everytime I have a cold one during the game I will raise a toast to my ND Brothers in Arms.

      “So here’s to your Gallantry, Dedication, and Bravery.
      Go Irish..Cheers and Hoooah!”

      (Yeah, I know it’s only Friday but if you’re gonna do it right you gotta have a little pregame warm up)

      1. Shaz-We sincerely hope that you, SFR,, JDH, and Toulmin are totally pie eyed by the end of the third qtr. We will listen and see if we can hear you guys cheering, shouting, yelling, and generally going into beserker stages! It’s Friday night here and you can feel the buzz. Peeps are excited to prove all those negative rants wrong. And we all, including the Sooner Dudes, believe it is going to hatch tomorrow afternoon and the Irish really show up against a quality opponent like the Sooners.

        Shembo Monsters Inc. will ring the Bell loudly and often! Get that feeling going! Believe! Go Irish! Hooah!

      2. Warrior,

        Tell thoses Sooner Dudes that I’ll tip a few in their Honor as well if they promise to put down the bats and razor’s.

        They’re a good bunch of joe’s!

        “Here’s to your Gallantry, Dedication, and Bravery.
        Go Irish..Cheers and Hoooah!”

  11. I agree with Irish fans needing to get over themselves. I LOVE being an ND fan but other than the student section, it’s a stuffy crowd. This team/program is missing a little rowdy-ness…

  12. A 14 point predicted victory over Oklahoma by scoring 31 points on offense. I’m not saying Oklahoma can’t be beat but that prediction may be a little more optimistic than reality. I think OU is a better team than MSU and we had much difficulty getting 17 points. I see a win more likely if the defense shows up to play. If the offense has a coming out party that would be fantastic. I am NOT that optimistic based what has been seen so far on the O side of the ball.

    Lets go Irish

  13. We can beat this Oklahoma football team! This is a gritty bunch of kids this year who haven’t quite found themselves or who they want to be….and own it.

    However….I do believe that Irish fans need to get over their massive egos in that stadium on Saturday. There has been a request that every fan be wrapped in green for the game to show unity. The 12th man is going to be just as valuable as who is getting reps during the game.

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