NORMAN — When Oklahoma opened Saturday's game with a quick, up-tempo offensive attack, Notre Dame appeared unable to keep up.
But when, for most of the game, everyone slowed down and slugged it out at the Fighting Irish's preferred pace, it was the Sooners who couldn't hang, eventually losing 30-13.
Quarterback Landry Jones and the OU offense came out firing, earning two first downs on its first four offensive plays — three completed passes to Jalen Saunders and one to Kenny Stills — and taking 12, 10 and 10 seconds between snaps.
That's when things began to slow down; the Sooners took 34 seconds off the play clock before their fifth snap, when Trey Millard rushed for 5 yards and first down — the only one OU would earn all night on the ground.
Before the very next play — with the play clock ticking to under 5 seconds — Jones left his position behind center Gabe Ikard to call an audible. But Ikard snapped the ball anyway, resulting in a 19-yard loss and destroyed momentum.
After Millard's early first down, Oklahoma went back to the run 15 more times in the first half, finishing with 3 net rushing yards.
And in pass defense, Notre Dame seemed content to let Jones and the Sooner receivers complete short- to mid-range throws, while making sure nothing got behind its defensive backs.
That strategy was made more effective when Oklahoma's offense proved unable to stay — or even get — on the field in the second and third quarters, during which it had a combined three possessions and went 0 for 3 on third-down conversions.
Jones completed 13 passes in the first quarter, but just 10 over the next two.
“In both our losses, there were opportunities early to get more points and make a change on the way the game was played a little bit,” said OU co-offensive coordinator Josh Heupel.