Some called it Notre Dame's best game in Kelly's four seasons, and Kelly said Notre Dame excellence again will be required to win. Of course, the same is true of the Sooners, who are largely untested.
“We're going to have to play extremely well,” Kelly said. “We're going to have to be in great position, extremely disciplined across the board and play our best game of the season.”
But when your game is toughness and fundamentals, when your game is blocking and tackling, sustained excellence is more approachable. Hard to play a perfect game when you're throwing the ball over the place and trying to win the formation game.
That's one reason the Sooners have reverted to more running emphasis and will try to do so Saturday, against a Notre Dame team giving up 114 rushing yards per game.
“They're still an excellent defense for sure,” Stoops said. “I appreciate their structure, their fundamentals. You rarely see a guy not in position. You can tell they're coached well.”
Luck of the Irish? Pluck of the Irish is more like it. Which is why magic won't beat Notre Dame. The Sooners are going to have to win this one the old-fashioned way.
Berry Tramel: Berry can be reached at (405) 760-8080 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. He can be heard Monday through Friday from 4:40-5:20 p.m. on The Sports Animal radio network, including FM-98.1. You can also view his personality page at newsok.com/berrytramel.