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Oklahoma football: Can Notre Dame use the Kansas State blueprint to beat OU?

OU FOOTBALL — When K-State rolled into Norman on Sept. 22 and broke OU's home winning streak vs. ranked opponents, the Wildcats won with QB pressure and an opportunistic offense. Can Notre Dame do the same vs. the Sooners on Saturday?
by Jason Kersey Published: October 25, 2012

A Jones interception gave K-State the ball on OU's 38-yard line, and the Wildcats took advantage of the short field to score their first offensive touchdown of the game early in the fourth.

On their next possession, the Wildcats converted a key third-and-12 with a 26-yard pass that kept a touchdown drive alive; that score put the game virtually out of reach.

“There are a lot of similar characteristics,” defensive coordinator Mike Stoops said of Notre Dame and Kansas State.

“They're disciplined, very well coached, and very physical. Those patterns and similarities are consistent with a lot of great teams.”

The Wildcats' 10 first-half points were all scored because of Oklahoma turnovers. Jones, under pressure and with no receivers open, abandoned the pocket, was hit from behind and fumbled into OU's end zone, where the ball was recovered for a Wildcats' touchdown.

OU took its next drive all the way to Kansas State's 5-yard line before Blake Bell fumbled a shotgun snap. Kansas State recovered and increased their lead to 10-3 after the ensuing drive ended with a field goal.

In its three games since that loss, though, Oklahoma has only turned the ball over once. That sort of offensive polish will be vital against an Irish defense that enters Saturday with 17 takeaways.

The OU defense, with one takeaway through the first three games, has nine during the current three-game tear.

“In big games like this, you've gotta protect the ball,” Norvell said. “Ball security is key and it'll be the difference again Saturday I'm sure. We've gotta do a great job of not turning it over, and not giving them a short field.

“That was our biggest problem in the Kansas State game. ... Our defense is doing a good job of creating turnovers in the last three games, and we've done a good job of protecting it.”