DEFENSE BENDS, THEN FINISHES STRONG
On the second play of the fourth quarter in Oklahoma's 35-21 win at Notre Dame on Saturday night, Fighting Irish tight end Troy Niklas caught a Tommy Rees pass with no Sooners defenders anywhere close and Niklas cruised in for a 30-yard touchdown.
After the play, Sooners defensive coordinator Mike Stoops was upset with defensive back Quentin Hayes. OU head coach Bob Stoops soon joined his brother's “conversation” with Hayes.
It wasn't the first time the Sooners had coverage issues in the second half.
“That goes back to the way they were running the ball,” Mike Stoops said. “It got us out of whack. I had a feeling that was coming. Our position wasn't what it needed to be and structurally that's my fault. We just have to come up with a little more variety, which we are learning through this process as we go along.”
After Niklas' score, though, Notre Dame couldn't move the ball. Rees completed a 9-yard pass on the first play of the next drive, then the Fighting Irish were stopped for a 2-yard loss on a run and Rees missed on his last seven pass attempts to end the game.
IKARD CREDITS COOPER
At the top of the tunnel after the win, Oklahoma center Gabe Ikard found Sooners assistant offensive line coach — and former teammate — Jon Cooper and picked Cooper up in an embrace.