In the first half of Saturday night's Oklahoma-Notre Dame game, ABC's broadcast team of Brent Musburger and Kirk Herbstreit was dumbfounded by a late call that nullified an OU touchdown. The second half of the telecast turned into a Notre Dame lovefest as the pair piled superlatives on the Fighting Irish during their 30-13 victory.
Musburger was caught off guard by a late holding call on Blake Bell's apparent touchdown run.
“That will move the extra point back,” he said before finally realizing the touchdown had been called back.
“That penalty came almost after the celebration,” said Herbstreit, who after watching it on replay said it was a good call.
Musburger spent a lot of time lobbying for Irish linebacker Manti Te'o in his rare campaign as a defensive player bidding for the Heisman Trophy. After Te'o dived and picked off a Landry Jones pass in the fourth quarter, he said, “This could be a Heisman moment for the young man. This is an incredible dive.”
Herbstreit called the victory a huge win for coach Brian Kelly and the Irish program. “This is a big step in their journey, to be considered in the top two or three teams in the country,” he said
Herbstreit noted the Irish were confident going into the game despite the program's recent poor record against top 10 teams. “When you beat a team like Oklahoma on the road, the confidence goes to a whole different level,” he said.
Herbstreit had high praise for redshirt freshman quarterback Everett Golson. “You can see him settling down. When he settles down, he can throw the football. He's managing the game, making good decisions,” he said.
With the Sooners trailing 13-6, Musburger noted the added pressure on OU senior quarterback Landry Jones. “The heat's on Landry Jones. Is he going to cross that bridge or is he going to fade away?” Musburger asked.
And then he later added, “I can't believe it's this quiet in Norman, Oklahoma. The Irish are making believers of them.”
After Bell scored a game-tying touchdown on a 1-yard run, Herbstreit compared him to a “tight end going down hill.”
Both sportscasters noted Notre Dame controlled the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball. “They never got their running game going,” Musburger said of OU.
“They were getting whipped up front,” Herbstreit said.
FSN made freshman quarterback Wes Lunt its player of the game in the Oklahoma State's 36-14 victory over TCU. On Lunt's 20-yard TD pass to Charlie Moore, FSN analyst Brian Baldinger said, “I got to give Wes Lunt a lot of credit. That kid just hung in the pocket, it was collapsing, and he was patient waiting for Charlie Moore to break open.”
Baldinger questioned OSU's strategy of not slowing its offensive tempo to use more time in the fourth quarter and wondered if the Cowboys would take a knee before Joseph Randle's 1-yard run with 1:22 left.
Looking ahead to OSU's game at Kansas State on Saturday, Baldinger said, “That really will be the ultimate test for this team: Can they continue to play defense the way we've seen for the last two years?”
*On ESPN's “College GameDay,” analyst Lee Corso donned a miniature Sooner Schooner and fired a Rufnex shotgun three times after picking OU to beat Notre Dame. Guest picker Nathan Followill, the Kings of Leon drummer, picked OU by 17 points.
*On Friday, ESPN announced that Corso, 77, who has been with the show for 25 years, had agreed to a two-year contract extension.