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Oklahoma football: Irish gained a little more respect by beating Sooners

Notre Dame has not matched the recent success of OU, but the Irish might be ready to catch up.
By Stephanie Kuzydym Published: October 28, 2012

The freshman quarterback's toughness. There was no way the Irish's redshirt freshman could match up against Oklahoma's fourth-year starter, right?

Wrong. Golson was clearly chosen by Kelly after a temporary quarterback controversy during the preseason. Golson can tuck the football and run or air it out — but on top of that, he's tough. He sat out the week before, when Notre Dame played BYU due to a concussion. Golson comes out against the Sooners and gets the wind knocked out of him by Tony Jefferson. Golson sits out a play and returns to direct the Irish to the red zone. He dives into a group of 300-pound lineman for a touchdown. OU radio analyst Merv Johnson called Golson a “gem.”

Tyler Eifert. The senior is a beast of a tight end. Two of his three catches were for first downs, and the other took Notre Dame to the 1-yard line that set up a Golson TD run.

A quick story about Eifert from a South Bend Tribune photographer who was shooting photos of the Notre Dame tight end while he was golfing. Eifert drove the ball more than 370 yards down the fairway. Eifert has massive power and explosion on the field. That power forced OU to pressure Eifert with double-safety coverage, which allowed TJ Jones to get open.

“Big Game Brian.” Notre Dame had a 16-10 record under Kelly coming into this season, but most Irish fans weren't worried that he was not a big-time coach like his predecessor, Charlie Weis. Even Merv Johnson, who is Oklahoma's director of football operations and a former offensive coordinator at Notre Dame, said everyone knew that when the school hired Kelly, they were hiring the right man for the job. Kelly made smart decisions in getting the ball to Notre Dame's quickest guy, Chris Brown, and allowing Golson to lead the Irish.

Now, Kelly is one game closer to being part of Notre Dame coaching greats Ara Parseghian, Dan Devine and Lou Holtz, who all won the national title in their third year with the Fighting Irish.