OU football notebook: Irish gives ground grudgingly
BY GUERIN EMIG World Sports Writer
Wednesday, October 24, 2012
10/24/12 at 2:20 AM
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Notre Dame is the only FBS team that has not surrendered a rushing touchdown this season.
"That is unbelievable. Not a single one," Oklahoma center Gabe Ikard said. "Hey, give them all the credit. They're really tough inside with really big bodies. It makes a lot of sense with the guys they have on the D-line and that front seven they have."
The Fighting Irish run a 3-4, but their ends are as heavy as tackles. All-America candidate Stephon Tuitt is a 6-foot-6, 303-pounder. The listed starter on the opposite end is Kapron Lewis-Moore at 6-4, 306. The nose guard is Louis Nix III, who measures 6-3, 326.
Notre Dame's starting linebackers - Prince Shembo, Dan Fox, Manti Te'o and Danny Spond - are listed at 250, 240, 255 and 248, respectively.
Perhaps they'll meet their match Saturday night in Norman. The Sooners have rushed for 20 touchdowns. Short-yardage quarterback Blake Bell has eight, while tailback Damien Williams has scored seven.
Irish gains ground consistently: Notre Dame gets starting quarterback Everett Golson back Saturday - coach Brian Kelly confirmed Golson has fully recovered from the concussion he sustained against Stanford Oct. 13 - but that does not mean the Irish will come firing.
Instead, expect Golston to hand off to any of three tailbacks who have notched 100-yard games this season. Theo Riddick rushed for 143 years in Notre Dame's 17-14 victory over BYU last week. Cierre Wood added 114. George Atkinson III, the son of the former Oakland Raiders All Pro defensive back, rushed for 123 yards in a rout of Miami Oct. 6.
"We're going to have to do a good job of controlling the line of scrimmage," OU defensive lineman David King said.
Kansas tailback James Sims rushed for 102 yards last Saturday in Norman, while the Jayhawks totaled 185. They averaged just 3.2 yards per carry, however, and Sims gained 37 of his yards against reserves in the fourth quarter.
Whaley, Metoyer suddenly in background: Dominique Whaley, the Sooners' starting tailback their first three games, did not play against Kansas. Trey Metoyer, a four-game starting wide receiver, caught one pass for four yards. OU elected to start Kenny Stills, Justin Brown, Sterling Shepard and Jalen Saunders at wideout.
"They've been doing a great job," Stoops said of Whaley and Metoyer. "Nothing's the matter with them whatsoever."
Whaley sustained a badly broken ankle last season. Metoyer was limited in practice recently by a sore shoulder. Their problems, however, seem to have more to do with others playing better. Williams has broken out as OU's featured ball-carrier. Shepard and Saunders have emerged as slot receivers, allowing Kenny Stills to move back outside with Brown.