Planning for success: Oklahoma

NORMAN, Okla. -- Everyone remembers the final score.

Notre Dame left Oklahoma Memorial Stadium with a 30-13 win over the Sooners last October. Yet, in the halls of the Switzer Center, Oklahoma coaches, players and staff remember the fourth quarter. And how they came up short when it mattered.

“That game was 10-6 going into the fourth quarter,” OU coach Bob Stoops said. “It ends up 13-13 and then they made every play after that, whether it be the interception, the long pass, whatever.”

ND outscored the Sooners 20-7 in the final quarter, scoring 17 unanswered points to win the game. OU quarterback Blake Bell, playing his role as the Belldozer in the Sooners’ short yardage package, scored on a 1-yard run to tie the game at 13. The Sooners had renewed hope, and excitement filled the stadium. Two plays later, ND quarterback Everett Golson hit Chris Brown for a 50-yard reception, sucking the life out of the stadium before Golson capped off the drive and recaptured the lead with a 1-yard touchdown run.

A Manti Te’o interception ended OU’s next possession and all hope was lost as the Sooners watched Notre Dame finish off the win with a field goal and Theo Riddick touchdown.

“We watched the fourth quarter from last year and that’s really what stuck out in our mind,” cornerback Aaron Colvin said. “They kind of dominated us in the fourth quarter last year. I feel like if we finish strong this year, we’ll have a good chance of winning.”

The Sooners know they were a key play or two away from beating the Fighting Irish in 2012. Stoops expects turnovers, third-down conversions and offensive balance to be the keys to the game. If OU holds up in those areas and the game remains close in the fourth quarter like last season, the Sooners are hopeful the outcome changes.

“At the end of the day, if you’re in that situation, you want to be the ones making the plays down the stretch that win the game,” Stoops said. “Last year they made all the plays down the stretch in the last six minutes of the game and that’s what changed the game. It was a 13-13 game with six minutes to go and they make all the plays at the end.”