OU vs. Notre Dame: Report card

NORMAN, Okla. — Sooners Illustrated provides the grades for OU's 30-13 Saturday night loss against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish.

Quarterback Landry Jones:B+

With a chance to lead the Sooners down the field in the waning minutes to tie the Irish while trailing 20-13, Notre Dame linebacker Dan Fox crashed into OU wide receiver Jalen Saunders and the pass was intercepted by Irish star linebacker Manti Te'o. Outside of the interception, Jones was a bright spot on a night where the Sooners' attempts to run the football were stifled by Notre Dame's front seven. Overall, Jones completed 35-of-51 pass attempts for 356 yards and no touchdowns.

Jalen Saunders:A+

Saunders, the junior wide out, was quite a bright spot on a night Sooner fans may want to quickly forget. The Elk Grove, Calif., native paved his way into the OU record books after recording the most receptions in a first quarter by a Sooner. Saunders hauled in eight passes for 82 yards, breaking Eddie Hinton (once) and Ryan Broyles' (three times) previous record of seven first-quarter receptions. He also tied Broyles' school record of 15 receptions in one game, which Broyles set back in 2010 against Iowa State. In all, Saunders caught 15 passes for 181 yards receiving--the eighth-highest receiving yardage total by an OU player in school history.

The Battle With Notre Dame's Defensive Front Seven:D-

On a night where Oklahoma's offense knew it would need to be counted upon to enforce their will upon Notre Dame's vaunted front seven, the Sooners were out-muscled. Notre Dame dominated the battle in the trenches defensively. OU ran the football 24 times for a measly 15 yards rushing and a microscopic .6 yards per carry. Why is this not an F? The Sooners did a solid job in pass protection. See: Jones throws for 350-plus passing yardage.

Special Teams:C+

Head coach Bob Stoops mentioned in his press conference that junior running back Brennan Clay bringing out The Opening kickoff was a mistake. On that play, Clay was dropped at his own 12-yard line instead of setting the Sooners up at their own 25. Throughout the night, OU failed to deliver much in the punt and kickoff return game. Credit Notre Dame for that. Still, senior punter Tress Way was outstanding for the Sooners in booming six punts for an average of 42 yards with a long of 60 yards. Also, sophomore place kicker Michael Hunnicutt was a perfect two-for-two on field goal tries.

The Oklahoma Fans:A+

For the Oklahoma fans that spent literally thousands of dollars to watch this historic matchup against Notre Dame, the result is especially sad. Sooner fans showed up in droves, packing Owen Field for a new attendance record of 86,031. Oklahoma Memorial Stadium was a picturesque candy cane-like hue as OU faithfuls pulled off the "Stripe Out" to perfection. Many fans showed up several hours prior to kickoff, and the stadium was electric as thousands strong roared and waved their rally towels. Unfortunately for Oklahoma fans, the Sooners failed to deliver many moments for the fans to fully impact this football game.


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