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                 === Bell, No. 14 OU down No. 22 Notre Dame ===
 
 South  Bend,  IN (Sports  Network) -  Blake Bell  threw for  232 yards and two
 touchdowns,  while  the Sooners'  stout defense picked  off Notre Dame's Tommy
 Rees  three  times, as No. 14  Oklahoma downed the 22nd-ranked Fighting Irish,
 35-21, on Saturday at Notre Dame Stadium.
 
 The  Sooners  (4-0) smothered  Rees from  the start, intercepting back-to-back
 passes  from  the Notre Dame signal-caller  to help create a 14-0 cushion less
 than three minutes into the game.
 
 OU linebacker Corey Nelson returned the first pick 24 yards for a score before
 Frank  Shannon  intercepted Rees' next  throw, setting up an 11-yard touchdown
 run from Damien Williams, who finished with 42 rushing yards on nine carries.
 
 Bell,  making his  first  career  road start,  helped  the  early lead  stand,
 completing  22-of-30 passes  while rushing 12 times for 59 yards for Oklahoma,
 which  has won nine straight regular-season games since last year's 30-13 home
 loss to then-No. 5 Notre Dame.
 
 "He  was really  sharp," Oklahoma head coach  Bob Stoops said of Bell. "He put
 the  ball  where it  needed to be,  finding the right  guys, going through his
 reads."
 
 Rees finished a woeful 9-of-24 passing for 104 yards, two touchdowns and three
 interceptions  for the  Fighting Irish (3-2), who  had won nine of the 10 all-
 time  meetings  against Oklahoma,  with their  only other  loss to the Sooners
 coming back in 1956.
 
 George  Atkinson III provided the lone bright spot for Notre Dame, rushing for
 a career-high 148 yards and a score on 14 carries in the setback.
 
 All  three  of Rees'  interceptions came  in the first  half, with the Sooners
 turning each one into a touchdown to build a 21-7 lead at the break.
 
 The  first came on the third play from scrimmage, as Rees dropped back to pass
 and  was  drilled from  behind by Eric  Striker just as  he released the ball.
 Nelson  was there to  intercept the pass and return it 24 yards for a score to
 make it 7-0 less than a minute into the game.
 
 Shannon picked off Rees' next pass and three plays later, Williams tight-roped
 the right sideline en route to an 11-yard TD for a 14-0 lead just 2:45 in.
 
 "Obviously  the interception  return and  certainly the  interceptions in  the
 first  half were crucial," Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly said. "You spot a
 great  team like  Oklahoma  14  points, you're  putting  yourself  in a  tough
 situation."
 
 After  going three-and-out on its next touch, Notre Dame's offense appeared to
 find its rhythm, as Tarean Folston ripped off a 36-yard run before Rees hit TJ
 Jones in the back of the end zone for a 6-yard score to make it 14-7.
 
 Notre  Dame moved into Oklahoma territory on each of its next two touches, but
 neither  produced points, with backup quarterback Andrew Hendrix taking a sack
 on  3rd-and-2 from  the OU  38 to  thwart the  first trek  before Rees'  third
 interception of the day ended Notre Dame's next drive.
 
 After  Julian Wilson  picked  off Rees  on  3rd-and-10 from  the  OU 24,  Bell
 converted  a pair  of third  downs to  keep OU's  ensuing march  moving before
 rolling  to  his right  and firing  a cross-field  pass into  the end zone for
 Lacoltan  Bester, who  hauled in  the 26-yard  score to  give Oklahoma  a 21-7
 cushion with 42 seconds remaining in the half.
 
 Following  an  OU punt to open  the second half, Atkinson brought the Fighting
 Irish  within a  score on  Notre Dame's  first play  from scrimmage,  bursting
 through  the left side  of the line and scampering 80 yards untouched into the
 end zone to make it 21-14 nearly 2 1/2 minutes into the third.
 
 Michael  Hunnicutt  hit a 27-yard field  goal on Oklahoma's next series before
 adding a 19-yarder late in the third to give the Sooners a 27-14 lead.
 
 Notre  Dame responded with a 7-play, 75-yard march that Rees capped with a 30-
 yard  scoring strike to  Troy Niklas on the second play of the fourth quarter,
 but  the Sooners answered  with a 75-yard scoring drive of their own to expand
 the lead.
 
 Facing  3rd-and-3 from the  OU 46, Bell fired a quick slant over the middle to
 Sterling  Shepard,  who split the safeties  and scurried 54 yards into the end
 zone.
 
 Shepard  then hauled in Bell's two-point conversion toss to push the margin to
 35-21 with over 12 minutes left in the game.
 
 OU's defense stood tall from there, forcing three straight three-and-outs from
 the  Fighting Irish before  Brennan Clay chewed up the final 5:39 off the game
 clock to secure the victory for the Sooners.
 
 
                                   Game Notes
 
 Notre  Dame  had  its  10-game  home winning  streak  halted  ...  Notre  Dame
 linebacker  Ben  Councell was  ejected in  the fourth  quarter for a targeting
 penalty  ... Oklahoma  outgained Notre Dame, 450-324 ... Oklahoma racked up 25
 first downs while holding Notre Dame to 12 first downs.
 
 
 09/28 22:54:49 ET