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Notre Dame's defense steps up again vs. Oklahoma

Notre Dame's defense was willing to sacrifice yards in order to keep Oklahoma from scoring quickly on Saturday, and the strategy paid off.

The Notre Dame Fighting Irish allowed a good chunk of yardage to the Oklahoma Sooners on Saturday night, but that was all part of the plan, according to head coach Brian Kelly (via CSN Chicago's JJ Stankevitz).

"We were going to give up yards to keep the points down. We could not let the points get out of reach for us.

The Irish intentionally gave a few yards of cushion to Oklahoma's receivers, which forced Sooners quarterback Landry Jones to rely on short passes, according to Stankevitz. That limited Oklahoma's ability to take advantage of its penchant for striking quickly, and put the pace of the game into Notre Dame's hands.

Safety Zeke Motta, who picked up a couple of tackles and a pass deflection, talked about the reaction of Notre Dame's defense to the Sooners' fast start:

"We knew they would get some yards on us initially, but just to have that confidence as a defense play after play, get lined up and ready to go, obviously you're going to be tired a little bit. Once the play starts, you just go balls to the wall no matter what."

Notre Dame allowed its first rushing touchdown of the season on Blake Bell's 1-yard scoring run. However, the Irish's run defense was in top form, surrendering just 15 yards on the ground to the Sooners in the 30-13 victory.

Up next for the Irish, who have the nation's second-best scoring defense, are the Pittsburgh Panthers, whose offense ranks 60th in the FBS in scoring.