SOUTH BEND, Ind. — It had been 57 years. That was the last time players from Oklahoma had been able to celebrate a win over Notre Dame. In that time span, the Irish had captured seven straight victories, including last year’s 30-13 drubbing at Owen Field.
So when the Sooners knocked off the Irish 35-14 Saturday at Notre Dame Stadium, it shouldn’t have been a surprise that they would want to savor every moment of it.
“It’s awesome,” senior Tre Millard said. “It’s one of those games you come to Oklahoma for. It’s one of the games that it’s really a special moment to get two programs like this together like this in this type of game.”
With the win, the series now stands at 9-2 in favor of the Irish. But being able to get this latest win gets the proverbial monkey off their backs and showed they can beat the storied program.
“It’s good for the tradition,” senior Jazz Reynolds said. “I think the last time we beat them it was in the 1950s or something like that. It’s not just for us this season. It’s for all the alumni and guys that fell to them. It’s a good second win against this program.”
For much of the two weeks leading up to the game, many of the Sooners said it was just another contest on the schedule. Despite being bullied by the Irish in front of their home fans in 2012, they were focused only on beating whoever was next.
That was not the case with Jalen Saunders. Even though he had a impressive outing the year before, he took the loss personally. He was looking forward to making the trip to Sound Bend and exacting a bit of revenge.
“This win means a lot to me,” Saunders said. “I wanted to get back from last year. This win means a lot for our program. We haven’t had a good winning percentage against Notre Dame. So this win means a lot for us. Personally I had this game circled on the calendar in the offseason. I was really upset about it and the way it needed last year. I was just really happy we got this win and celebrated.”
Sophomore Trevor Knight didn’t play in last year’s game and was barley in kindergarten when the Sooners lost in South Bend in 1999. But he still realizes what this victory means.
“It’s a huge win,” Knight said. “For one, going on the road and getting our first road win of the year. Also the tradition of these schools. They came in and beat us in our house last year. So coming up here and getting a big win, it’s huge. Huge for our program, huge for our confidence. If you go through out the season, there are those signature wins that you have to pick up.”
However, for Julian Wilson the win was just another stepping stone in getting Oklahoma back to where he believes it belongs.
“Really we just need to keep working to get OU where it deserves to be,” Wilson said. “Right now we are the underdogs and we take that as disrespect to that. People don’t respect us as players, as a team. We just come out there with a chip on our shoulder.”
While all of the players admit beating Notre Dame was big and special, they don’t have time to rest on their laurels.
“It’s huge for us,” senior Aaron Colvin said. “We know about the tradition in this game and how they’ve kind of dominated throughout this series. It felt good to get the win. We will enjoy it for just Saturday, then we are going to get ready for TCU.”
Michael Kinney Follow me @eyeamtruth firstname.lastname@example.org