SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) — Oklahoma finally found a way to beat Notre Dame again.
The 14th-ranked Sooners took advantage of three interceptions, two in the first 3 minutes as they jumped to a 14-0 lead, and Blake Bell passed for two touchdowns to lead the Sooners to a 35-21 victory over the 22nd-ranked Fighting Irish on Saturday.
The win ended a seven-game losing streak to Notre Dame and was just the second in 11 meetings for the Sooners against the Irish, including ending an NCAA-record 47-game winning streak in 1957.
Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops, an Irish Catholic who grew up in Ohio and downplayed the history aspect all week, conceded the victory was especially gratifying.
"Now that it's happened this way, I'm pleased and I sure am glad for those older Oklahomans that have been through all those games Notre Dame had beaten us. We get some level of satisfaction winning this one," he said. "Who knows when we'll play again? So they can live it up and say, 'We got you' last until we go again."
The Sooners (4-0) took control with the two interceptions.
Rees didn't see Oklahoma linebacker Eric Striker blitzing and was hit from behind, popping the ball loose, and linebacker Corey Nelson caught it and returned it 24 yards for a TD.
On Notre Dame's next play from scrimmage, Rees' pass ricocheted off the arm of receiver TJ Jones and linebacker Frank Shannon bobbled it before returning it 17 yards to the Notre Dame 32. The Sooners scored another TD four plays later on an 11-yard run by Damien Williams.
Coach Brian Kelly was surprised by the slow start by Notre Dame (3-2).
"You never expect to not pick up the simplest of stunts and have your quarterback get the ball stripped. You never expect not to run the right route when you're supposed to," he said. "The turnovers for us were too much to overcome."
After Notre Dame played a nearly perfect game in beating the Sooners last season, with no turnovers and just one penalty for 5 yards, Oklahoma was the one that made the fewest mistakes Saturday . The Sooners, who managed just 15 yards rushing against the Irish last season, finished with 212 yards rushing.
The game was a stark contrast to last season, when the Irish dominated the lines of scrimmage and amassed 215 yards on the ground. The Sooners frequently went wide on both runs and passes to try to offset Notre Dame's size inside. The Irish managed to rush for a season-high 220 yards, with George Atkinson running for 148 yards on 14 carries.