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Notre Dame's defense too much for Oklahoma

NORMAN, Okla. -- Everett Golson threw for 177 yards and plunged in for the deciding 1-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter, Manti Te'o bolstered his Heisman Trophy candidacy with a late interception and No. 5 Notre Dame beat No. 8 Oklahoma, 30-13, Saturday night to remain undefeated.

Te'o, the standout linebacker who has a penchant for causing turnovers, dove when Landry Jones' pass ricocheted off Jalen Saunders and got his gloved hands under it. Kyle Brindza tacked on his third field goal soon after, and Theo Riddick added a late touchdown run as the Fighting Irish (8-0) put it away with 20 fourth-quarter points.

Jones threw for 356 yards with no touchdowns for the Sooners (5-2), who were still clinging to hope they could get back in the national title race before the loss. Saunders caught 15 passes for 181 yards.

Notre Dame is off to its best start in a decade, doing so as the only team in the country with four wins against top 25 teams, including two on the road against top 10 foes.

The game revived a rivalry that had been largely dormant since the 1960s. The Irish won eight of the first nine meetings, including three times when they handed Oklahoma its only loss of the season. This meeting between two of college football's two traditional powers was no different and Notre Dame's throwback defense gave the game a taste of days gone by.

Te'o and the second-ranked Irish defense frequently gave up underneath passes but prevented them from turning into big gains, making the Sooners snap the ball over and over while the Irish waited for a mistake that would snuff out the drive.

Oklahoma's first two red zone possessions ended with field goals, and the Sooners turned to backup quarterback Blake Bell and their "Belldozer" short-yardage run package to finally punch one in and tie it at 13 with 9:10 remaining.

Golson, who had to come out for the final play of the third quarter after getting flattened by Oklahoma's Tony Jefferson, answered on the very next play with a 50-yard post pass to freshman Chris Brown -- his first career reception.

It took five more plays for Notre Dame to punch it in from the 15-yard line, with Golson taking a shotgun snap for a quarterback draw and diving into the line from the 1 for the score.

Jones tried to rally the Sooners, but linebacker Dan Fox slammed into Saunders as the pass arrived and Te'o -- seemingly always around the ball -- was right there to pick it off. The Irish, who were giving up just 9.4 points per game, haven't allowed more than 17 in a game this season.

New York Sports