OU film review: Game 4

OU went on the road and won at Notre Dame. How did it accomplish this task? These five plays help tell the story.

Every play matters but some stick out more than others. Each week Sooners Illustrated will look at the five plays that stood out in Oklahoma's performance. This week it's OU's 35-21 victory at Notre Dame.

Play No. 1: Striker makes his presence known

What better play to start with than OU's first touchdown. Notre Dame faced a third-and-seven on its first drive. Quarterback Tommy Rees was waiting for something to develop when OU sophomore linebacker Eric Striker hit him from behind, jarring the ball loose.

It fell right into the hands of linebacker Corey Nelson, who went 24 yards to give the Sooners a 7-0 lead before everybody even had a chance to settle down.

Striker came off the edge all game long and made a big impact. He didn't always get to the quarterback, but he gave Rees something to think about.

Nelson finally caught one. Nelson had two chances against Tulsa for an interception but couldn't hold onto it. This time he had no issues and took it to the house.

Play No. 2: Williams stopped short

It's sort of amazing OU finished with 212 rushing yards because in short yardage situations, the Sooners left a lot to be desired.

OU had a third-and-one from its 48 yard line late in the first quarter. Senior Damien Williams, instead of hitting the hole and getting the first down, bounced it outside and lost a yard.

There were four times in the game when OU faced a third or fourth down and less than two and were stuffed. Three other times it was quarterback Blake Bell being unable to convert.

The Sooners made some strides with their physicality, but these failed conversions show there's still much work left to be done.

Play No. 3: Bell converts third down

Momentum was turning midway in the second quarter. OU held a precarious 14-7 lead with Notre Dame driving. Rees threw his third interception of the half as Julian Wilson picked him off.

But it wouldn't mean as much if OU couldn't cash in. And it looked like it wouldn't happen. OU was 0-of-3 on third down conversions going into a third-and-seven from its 47.

Bell couldn't find anybody so scrambled and gained 12 yards. Converted another third down later in the drive that culminated with a 26-yard touchdown pass to LaColtan Bester.

Bell needed a run to get himself going against Tulsa. It felt like that run loosened him up against the Irish as OU once again took control of the game.

Play No. 4: Knight sets career mark

Bell started cramping in the third quarter so it was time for redshirt freshman Trevor Knight to come back to the OU offense.

First play? Knight goes 30 yards, his career-long run and things start to become crystal clear. No matter what OU coaches have said, there are two types of offenses for the Sooners.

One for Bell that looks like what OU fans are accustomed to seeing. And one for Knight, featuring the zone read option.

Knight would lead the team to a field goal to give OU a 27-14 lead before Bell would return.

Play No. 5: Shepard closes the show

There will be a lot of talk about the questionable calls made by offensive coordinator Josh Heupel, but he dialed up something special on the final touchdown.

OU's lead was down to 27-21 and faced third-and-three from its 46. Lined up in a bunch formation, Bell was able to find Sterling Shepard for a crucial first down. And then Shepard just kept going 54 yards for the touchdown that shut the door on the Irish.

Bell is doing a great job of hitting his receivers in stride so they can make a play and this was another example of it.

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