Oklahoma back to power after win over Notre Dame

Oklahoma back to power after win over Notre Dame

Published Sep. 28, 2013 6:41 p.m. ET

Well, maybe Blake Bell should have hydrated better.

Past that, finding any flaw at all from a road win at Notre Dame is hard to do.

After all, this Oklahoma team hadn't played much defense in the past two years, hadn't had a, put-it-up-on-the-fridge-gold-star win in that same span and hadn't had a quarterback like Bell in even longer.

In one Saturday afternoon, we saw a national power restored to full strength.

Oklahoma is back. Ask anyone who saw the 35-21 win.

It means a 4-0 start, certainly will mean top-10 ranking and definitely means the Sooners are alive and well in the BCS picture – although they'll need some help, but we can worry about all that later.

For now, it's an exhale like none other because OU has a quarterback like no one we've seen in the better part of forever at Oklahoma.

A runner who can pass and a passer who kept running, even after he left the game with cramps that sent him to the locker room. So, what happened when Bell returned? He ran it three times in a row and then passed it on a play where everyone thought a run was coming.

The result was a a 54-yard catch and run for a touchdown from Bell to Sterling Shepard when Notre Dame was about to Notre Dame kind of things. Instead, the Irish never got the ball with a chance to tie the game in the second half.

Instead, OU distanced itself from disaster because it had a quarterback who could do some of everything, unlike the reliable but static quarterback play of the recent past.

Bell passed for 232 yards, completed 22-of-30 passes, two for touchdowns. He ran it 12 times for 59 yards and if not for a coaching staff that tried too hard to be too creative on a number of short-yardage situations, Bell would have carried it 20 times. What Bell didn't do was turn it over.

There was no shaky feet, no shaky decisions. Just a steadiness that was good enough to win against a team the Sooners hadn't beaten since 1956 and a team that dominated the Sooners a season ago in Norman, 30-13.

OU scored 49 seconds into the game and then scored again 2:04 later, thanks to a pair of interceptions. Obviously a game-changer. "Defensively, we came up with a few huge plays," coach Bob Stoops said.

But this game was Bell's.

The Sooners had the ball 9 minutes longer than Notre Dame, had half as many penalties, too. If not for an 80-yard run by George Atkinson III to start the second half, this game would have been void of drama.

Blake Bell didn't win the national championship Saturday afternoon. He did save the season for the Sooners, though.

"Bell was great," Stoops said afterwards.

Yeah, coach, we noticed.

Follow Andrew Gilman on Twitter: @andrewgilmanOK