NORMAN — Asked Monday about his awareness of Oklahoma's football history with Notre Dame, Justin Brown confessed being pretty oblivious to it.
“Not too much,” said the senior wide receiver.
“I heard they broke a winning streak. I did hear that.”
Hey, it's a start. In November 1957, of course, the Fighting Irish snapped Oklahoma's record 47-game win streak with a 7-0 victory on Owen Field, where the two traditional powers will meet Saturday in a top-10, primetime clash.
Brown's excuse is airtight; he's from far-away Delaware, and only became a Sooner a few months ago after transferring from Penn State. He'd never been to the state of Oklahoma until visiting just before his transfer.
But how about a couple fifth-year seniors, like quarterback Landry Jones and defensive end R.J. Washington?
“I'm not really aware of much of it, but I'm sure there's a lot of great games that have been played,” Jones said.
“I don't know if that necessarily matters in who wins this game or loses this game, but I should probably read up on my history of the game.”
Is he aware the Sooners are 1-8 all-time against Notre Dame?
“Now I am,” he responded with a smile.
Washington said he'd just assumed there was a glorious history between the schools, filled with several epic, championship-caliber battles.
“They have a lot of tradition, and we have a lot of tradition,” Washington said. “I just assumed they met up in the (national championship game) somewhere way back when.
“I was walking past the TV, and it said, ‘Notre Dame, all-time record against OU.' I was like, ‘1-8? Oh, dang.'”
Coach Bob Stoops said it isn't important that he talk extensively with his players about the series' past.
“These are 18-, 19-, 21- and 22-year-old guys,” Stoops said. “I can try to engage them all I want in what happened way back when. I don't think it's gonna matter.”
And really, that's the bottom line: For current Oklahoma — and, for that matter, Notre Dame — players, aspects of Saturday's game like history and a snapped winning streak don't mean too much.
Heck, most of today's Sooner and Fighting Irish players weren't even 10-years old in 1999, the last time the programs met on the gridiron.
“Then, it's not like we even knew we were coming to OU,” Washington said.
“It would be different if it were recent history ... OU-Texas history is a little different than Notre Dame-OU history, because we've seen OU-Texas history. We haven't seen that, so we can't even imagine it.”
Defensive ends coach Bobby Jack Wright said the history and tradition is great for fans — and even makes the game special to he and his fellow coaches — but none of that has anything to do with what happens on the field Saturday.
“None of what happened prior has anything to do with this team or this game,” Wright said. “It's all about Oklahoma today and Notre Dame today. That's the way it should be.”
Before the 1999 game, which Notre Dame came from behind to win 34-30, the last time the traditional powers played was 1968 in South Bend, Ind.
Two years before that, in 1966, the Fighting Irish made their last trek to Norman for a football game.
“I think Coach Stoops was six,” Washington said of when that game was played, before adding with a laugh. “Coach Wright might've been 35.
“No ... he was 16, though. We asked him.”
Told of Washington's comment, Wright chuckled.
“He was alluding to how old I am,” he said. “I told him, ‘I'm a lot better looking old man than you are a young man.'
“Most of the games were so long ago, I can understand why most of them don't know anything about the history, other than what we've told them.
“Certainly the media is interested because everybody's going crazy about it. I understand even (ESPN College) GameDay is gonna be here, so apparently it's a big media deal. That adds to it ... but in the locker room and in the meeting rooms, it's about our very proud football team going against their very proud football team.”