NORMAN — Now, Notre Dame has the offensive star to go along with its defensive standout.
Two weeks ago, the Fighting Irish's offense was shaky, led by an inexperienced Everett Golson at quarterback.
Last week, Golson wasn't even able to play, kept on the sidelines by a concussion.
But Saturday night at Owen Field, it was Golson that came up with play after play for the Fighting Irish on offense, helping Notre Dame to a 30-13 win over Oklahoma.
“I thought Everett Golson led our team tonight,” Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly said. “Tonight was a big step up for our quarterback.”
After Blake Bell gave the Sooners the first rushing touchdown against Notre Dame all season, it looked like a strong defensive stand by Oklahoma could put the Sooners in position to pull off the comeback.
But Kelly wanted to regain momentum quickly and went for the throat, having Golson go deep to Chris Brown, a freshman without a catch all season.
“He's got elite speed,” Kelly said of Brown. “He's a guy we've been trying to get on track and we were finally able to do it.
“I wanted to win the game. I thought we needed to throw the football and get a big chunk play.”
Golson found Brown in man coverage, Notre Dame picked up 50 yards and five plays later Golson scored to put the Fighting Irish back in front.
The pass to Brown wasn't one Golson could've hit early in the season, Golson said.
“I don't think six or seven weeks ago I could've done something like that,” Golson said. “I didn't really have the same feel for the guys then.”
Kelly expected his team would have to win with its defense early, but Saturday showed the Irish can also come up big on the other side.
“It's no surprise to me what he was able to do,” Notre Dame's best defensive player, linebacker, Manti Te'o, said. “I know exactly what No. 5 can do.”
Both players wear No. 5.
Afterward, the Fighting Irish (8-0) were already talking about next week's game against Pittsburgh, shrugging off questions about their place on the national stage.
“If we start listening to national championship and BCS talk, we will lose a football game,” Kelly said. “This is a pretty smart bunch.”