SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- The Sooners offensive line against the Irish defensive front.
It's the same key matchup in the 2013 game as it was in last season's contest.
OU had only 15 yards rushing in the 2012 game in Norman. They were able to move the ball between the 20-yard lines, but in the red zone the Notre Dame defense got stingy.
Most of the same players are back for both units, with the Irish returning first-team All-Americans nose guard Louis Nix III and defensive end Stephon Tuitt.
Nix and Tuitt are the strength of the Irish defense.
The Sooners' O-line has been very good so far this year. They ran the ball at will against Louisiana-Monroe and West Virginia. In game three, they gave the ball to Blake Bell who had all kinds of time against Tulsa.
The boys on the line will need to step up big, if the Sooners are going turn the tables on the Irish Saturday.
"Yeah it's a big matchup, you know? If you're gonna run the ball or protect the quarterback you know that all starts with those five guys up front and they are an excellent group," said OU head coach Bob Stoops. "They've (Notre Dame) got a good front seven everyone talks about that and we know that's going to be a key here."
Nix is the key for the Irish defense. He draws a double-team on almost every snap, and he's a projected top 15 pick in next year's NFL draft.
OU All-American center Gabe Ikard struggled with Nix last year and he knows he'll need to be improved Saturday.
"They're led by two first team All-American guys," said OU center Gabe Ikard. "They're probably the best in the country in their positions so we know how talented they are up front, but also we have a lot of confidence in our line and in our defensive line. That's the question and that's what Saturdays are for. To determine if we can move the guys off the ball and make some space that really hasn't happened much against them."
For more on the series between the Sooners and the Irish go www.kjrh.com/ounotredame . There you will find videos from past games, photos, news and more about the 2013 matchup.
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