Oklahoma Sooners at Notre Dame Fighting Irish (+3.5, 50.5)
Notre Dame used a victory at Oklahoma last season to catapult itself into the National Championship discussion. The 12th-ranked Sooners will look to return that favor when they visit the 22nd-ranked Fighting Irish on Saturday. The 2013 Notre Dame squad is taking a little longer to find itself than the 2012 version, though the defense began to make some big strides last week.
Oklahoma is getting its biggest test of the first month and had an off week to prepare for the Fighting Irish after trouncing Tulsa on Sept. 14. The Sooners have a different look than last year’s squad as well but are already displaying the type of defensive intensity that could turn the rematch in their favor. Notre Dame exploded for 17 points in the final 5:05 last year at Oklahoma to turn a tie game into a 30-13 victory.
TV: 3:30 p.m. ET, NBC.
LINE: The Sooners opened as 3-point road faves and are now -3.5. The total opened at 48.5 and is up to 50.5.
WEATHER: Temperatures will be in the high-70s. Wind will blow from the south at 12 mph toward the north end zone.
ABOUT OKLAHOMA (3-0): The Sooners, like the Irish, are bringing a different starting quarterback into this matchup, with junior Blake Bell proving himself the starter after passing for 413 yards and four touchdowns in the win over Tulsa. Oklahoma had a 356-yard passing effort from Landry Jones in the matchup last season but struggled to convert third downs against Notre Dame’s bend-don’t-break defense. “We weren’t nearly as good as we needed to be, and they were better at getting the stop, and that was a big factor,” Sooners coach Bob Stoops said of the Irish defense.
ABOUT NOTRE DAME (3-1): The Irish used their passing game to stretch Michigan State and put pressure on the cornerbacks last week, drawing several penalties that kept drives alive and helped lead to a 17-13 triumph. Quarterback Tommy Rees was not the starter last year at Oklahoma but has plenty of experience, leaving the defense the biggest question mark. “We’re going up against an extremely skilled and talented football team,” coach Brian Kelly said of Oklahoma. “Their offensive depth at the skill position is as good as I’ve seen across the country.”
* Fighting Irish are 0-4-1 ATS in their last five games overall.
* Under is 5-1 in Sooners last six non-conference games.
* Under is 4-1 in Fighting Irish last five vs. Big 12.
* Sooners are 8-3 ATS in their last 11 non-conference games.
1. Notre Dame is looking for its 11th straight home win.
2. The Sooners have not lost a regular-season game since falling to the Irish (8-0).
3. The Irish are 27-4-1 all-time against schools that currently make up the Big 12.