All week, many across the country speculated whether or not Notre Dame could get the statement win it needed to prove to the country it was truly back.
Saturday night in Norman, in front of an OU record crowd of 86,031, the Irish got that win, pushing the Sooners around for most of the night for a 30-13 victory.
Everett Golson proved to be a more than competent quarterback, passing for 177 yards and running for 64 yards and a touchdown to lead the Irish to victory. Notre Dame as a team ran for 215 yards.
OU quarterback Landry Jones threw for 356 yards and a single interception on a deflected pass, but didn't get any help from the Oklahoma running game. Notre Dame's defense, led by Manti Te'o, who made a tremendous statement in his push for the Heisman Trophy, shut the Sooners down on the ground, holding OU to 15 yards on 24 carries.
The Sooners had great success on their first two drives moving the ball against the Irish defense, but both drives stalled. The first drive went backwards when center Gabe Ikard snapped the ball when Jones wasn't under center, a 19-yard loss. The Sooners would punt. After a Notre Dame punt, the Sooners drove into the red zone, but stalled once again. Michael Hunnicutt kicked a 28-yard field goal to give the Sooners the lead.
On 2nd and five from the OU 38-yard line, Notre Dame running back Cierre Wood burst up the middle for a 62-yard touchdown run to give the Irish a 7-3 lead.
The Sooners were unable to muster anything else until their final drive of the first half against the Irish defense. OU couldn't get any sort of ground game going, while Notre Dame began to establish a rhythm on offense, kicking a 34-yard field goal with 5:58 remaining in the first half to take a 10-3 lead.
Oklahoma came back down the field, and appeared to score a touchdown on a Blake Bell four-yard run, but a holding penalty, called very late on the play, nullified the score. The Sooners had to settle for a field goal and went to the locker room down 10-6.
The Irish came out after the break and controlled the ball for almost the entire third quarter. Notre Dame had a nearly seven minute drive to start the half, but missed a 34-yard field goal. After another OU drive stalled, the Irish used the rest of the third quarter and the beginning of the fourth quarter to tack on a field goal to push the lead to seven points.
After a punt for each team, the Sooners finally broke through, driving 52 yards on seven plays for a Blake Bell touchdown run, the first rushing touchdown the Irish had allowed all season. On the drive, the Sooners faced a fourth down and two, and Bell converted by throwing to Trey Millard for eight yards.
The Irish responded on the very next drive, with quarterback Everett Golson catching the Sooners with a terrific play-action fake, and hitting Chris Brown down the middle for a 50 yard gain to the OU 15-yard line. Five plays later, Golson punched into the end zone to give Notre Dame a 20-13 lead.
The Sooners took over with 5:05 remaining in the game, but a diving interception by Te'o off a deflected Jones pass effectively ended the game for OU. The Irish added a field goal, and then after OU turned the ball over on downs, Theo Riddick ran for another Irish touchdown for the final margin.
With the loss, Oklahoma is effectively eliminated from the national championship race. Next week the Sooners travel to Ames, Iowa to take on Iowa State. Despite the tough loss Saturday, the Sooners have to move forward or this loss to the Irish could easily turn into another one to the Cyclones.