Share “Oklahoma football: Sooners' offensive...”

Oklahoma football: Sooners' offensive line, running backs make up for dismal performance last season

by Ryan Aber Published: September 28, 2013


photo - Oklahoma's Brennan Clay (24) runs out of the tackle of Notre Dame's Austin Collinsworth (28) during the second half of an NCAA college football game on Saturday, Sept. 28, 2013, in South Bend, Ind. Oklahoma defeated Notre Dame 35-21. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)  ORG XMIT: INDC115
Oklahoma's Brennan Clay (24) runs out of the tackle of Notre Dame's Austin Collinsworth (28) during the second half of an NCAA college football game on Saturday, Sept. 28, 2013, in South Bend, Ind. Oklahoma defeated Notre Dame 35-21. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings) ORG XMIT: INDC115

In a hallway just off the famed tunnel at Notre Dame Stadium, Oklahoma center Gabe Ikard smiled wide Saturday night.

Not only did the Sooners beat Notre Dame 35-21, avenging last season's Irish win in Norman, Oklahoma's offensive line also made up for a performance that was tough to swallow a season ago.

“They stuffed us last year (and) pretty much embarrassed us as a line out there on our home field,” Ikard said. “For us to rush for over 200 yards is huge.”

The Sooners not only rushed for more than 200 yards against the Fighting Irish this time around, they ran for nearly 200 yards more than they did against Notre Dame last year, when they put up just 15 yards on the ground.

Louis Nix III, one of the best defensive tackles in the country, was a disruptive force a year ago, pushing around Ikard and the rest of the Sooners offensive line and giving Heisman Trophy runner-up Manti Te'o space to work.

“I didn't notice Nix being a huge factor,” Sooners offensive line coach Bill Bedenbaugh said. “Obviously he made plays, but I didn't notice it and we did some things too to help him out.”

What the Sooners did was give Ikard plenty of help when matched head-up with Nix.

They sent guards over to double-team. They moved blocking formations over to neutralize him. They even regularly sent big fullback Trey Millard in attack mode right at the 6-foot-2, 342-pounder.

“We had all kinds of schemes focused on him,” Ikard said. “You know when you're a nose guard and you're scheming, having Trey Millard come and try to cut him, you're an extremely talented football player.”

The difference was noticeable right off the bat, even with things snowballing in Oklahoma's favor.

On the Sooners' second offensive play, Roy Finch ran eight yards for a first down, tying the number of rushing first downs they had a year ago.

Continue reading this story on the...

by Ryan Aber
OU Athletics Reporter
Ryan Aber has worked for The Oklahoman since 2006, covering high schools, the Oklahoma City RedHawks, the Oklahoma City Barons and OU football recruiting. An Oklahoma City native, Aber graduated from Northeastern State. Before joining The...
+ show more


Trending Now


AROUND THE WEB

  1. 1
    Abusers using spyware apps to monitor partners reaches 'epidemic proportions'
  2. 2
    OU football: Defensive tackle Matt Romar injured at practice
  3. 3
    Police: Cartel claims they have kidnapped Border Patrol agent
  4. 4
    Republicans warm to Loretta Lynch
  5. 5
    West Virginia quarterback Clint Trickett to retire from football
+ show more