NORMAN — Half the media pronounced the name of Heisman Trophy hopeful and Notre Dame's linebacker Manti Te'o wrong, saying Mon-tee instead of Man-tie.
Even the press box announcer, who keeps media advised on game facts, kept calling Notre Dame's quarterback “Golston.” It's Golson. Everett Golson.
The one thing everyone knew for sure late Saturday night was the “what's their names” won. Notre Dame, behind Te'o and Golson, beat Oklahoma 30-13 on Owen Field.
Notre Dame of recent isn't like Oklahoma. The Irish haven't enjoyed as much success as the Sooners. The bowls they have been to did not have the prestige of those played by the Sooners. Notre Dame has been through five head coaches in the last 20 years, but OU media and fans underappreciated the Irish under coach Brian Kelly.
Here are five other facts about Notre Dame football that went underappreciated:
The program has done this before. Notre Dame consistently plays in big-game environments. Michigan, Stanford and USC are often on the schedule. The Irish might not have visited Norman in decades, but they understood what the game meant Saturday night. They tried to pamper their players as much as possible for being the road team. They brought their 400-person band and their own benches. The visiting teams' benches were actually nicer than the stainless steel benches Oklahoma used on the sideline. Notre Dame players sat on blue high-backed benches monogrammed with the ND logo. Polls were attached for players to hang helmets.
Manti Te'o. Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops mentioned in his press conference last week that OU tried to recruit Te'o. Stoops never knew why the Sooners didn't get Te'o — but the reason he most likely didn't know was because Te'o wasn't interested in OU. Hawaii's top high school linebacker was looking at USC, BYU and Notre Dame; he chose the Irish two days before signing day in 2009.
Te'o chose not to enter the NFL Draft. He wanted to return to his team for another year for similar reasons as OU quarterback Landry Jones. Te'o thought the Irish had a chance to win the national championship.
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