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In case you didn’t know: This one is personal for OU fans

Oct 22, 2012, 12:06 PM EDT


It’s fair to say that Oklahoma isn’t looking at this weekend’s game with Notre Dame as just another Saturday on the calendar.

“Probably the most anticipated game here since 2000, when Nebraska came in here ranked No. 1 in the country and we were No. 2,” Oklahoma head coach Bob Stoops said. “It was a pretty incredible day.”

That’s what Notre Dame has waiting for them this weekend at Owen Field, where the No. 8 Sooners will welcome the No. 5 Irish, a game that means quite a bit to Oklahoma fans. How much? Well, I’ll admit I was more than a little surprised when reading this article by the Oklahoman’s Barry Tramel, who explained why Oklahoma fans hate Notre Dame.

Blame it on the 1957 Fighting Irish. Terry Brennan’s squad finished the season with three losses, but walked into Norman and blanked No. 2 Oklahoma 7-0, shocking the Sooners after getting pasted by OU 40-0 the year before and ending the Sooners’ 47-game winning streak. From that moment on… well, it hasn’t been pretty.

Do yourself a favor and read the entire article. But here are a few choice snippets from Tramel’s piece on the OU-ND series, a match-up the Irish own with an 8-1 record.

Jack Laffoon says he never voted for Ronald Reagan, not because of politics, but because Reagan portrayed Notre Dame star George Gipp in “Knute Rockne, All American.”

“I still remember my mother crying on that dark fall afternoon in 1957,” said Laffoon, then a Tulsa grade schooler and now a retired Air Force man living in Corinth, Texas. “A bunch of papist hooligans had stolen the game from the mighty Sooners.”

And here’s another choice cut, this one comparing Oklahoma’s loss to Notre Dame in 1957 to the attack on Pearl Harbor.

In fact, between Oct. 13, 1951, and Oct. 11, 1958, OU lost three games. All to Notre Dame.

Call it a hate-hate relationship Sooner fans have with the Golden Domers.

“Hate is a little too strong, but let’s go with I am intensely interested in the Sooners cleaning their clock,” said Richard Luttrell of Richardson, Texas. “I’m a little too young to remember Nov. 16, 1957, but that date was tattooed in my brain by my parents just like Dec. 7, 1941 — another day of infamy.”

Even though he’s ashamed to admit it, this fan hates Notre Dame so badly he even hates Lindsey Nelson.

Irwin still can recite his access to the Sooners in the pre-Internet days of the 1970s.

One or two televised games per season. Fifteen to 30 seconds of highlights each Saturday during the Prudential College Scoreboard Show with Dave Diles. Three lines of type and a box score in the Sunday paper.

“Do you remember what the Notre Dame fans had?” Irwin asked. “A one-hour … replay hosted by Lindsey Nelson every Sunday morning! Aaaarrrrrrrgh!!!!”

Irwin said he’s embarrassed that the jealousy, “born of youth,” continues to color his perception even though he now has virtually unlimited access to Sooner football.

“I still hope the Irish lose every week,” he said.

As you might expect, the players, 18-23-year-old kids like quarterback Landry Jones, might not have the same disdain for a football program that the Sooners haven’t played since he was ten-years old. But that doesn’t mean he’s not excited for the prime-time match-up, where ESPN’s College GameDay will set up shop this weekend.

“We’re excited for this one,” Jones said after beating Kansas on Saturday 52-7. “I’m not going to say we had Notre Dame marked on our calendar, but we’ve been looking forward to it, for sure. It’s a huge game for this program.”

Jones, the lynchpin of the Sooners offense, and one of the most talented quarterbacks in the country, might be best served coming into Saturday with this attitude.

Because if he knew he were playing to avenge Jack Laffoon‘s mother’s tears, that might heap quite a bit of pressure on a college kid.

“The tears were not for the loss of a game alone,” Laffoon said. “The tears were also for the perceived loss of respect our homeplace had suffered.

“The streak brought respect to a state devastated by the Dust Bowl and besmirched by Steinbeck’s portrayal of Okies … for 47 games, we were the kings of the world.

“That was gone, wiped out, never to return and never to be repeated. I had no choice but to instantly despise them and all of their ilk.”

First Tom Joad, and then the Fighting Irish. As we roll forward to Saturday evening’s monumental game, consider this a two-fold reminder. First, Notre Dame fans aren’t the only people who take college football too seriously.

But probably more important: Oklahoma fans really don’t like Notre Dame.

  1. gpatton90 - Oct 22, 2012 at 5:11 PM

    zemaniak has it right. We need to take advantage of our strenghts at the line of scrimmage. On offense, despite the naysayers giving no credit to the team for the BYU game, we took a big step in the running game against a top defensive run team. The Oklahoma front seven can be exploited and we need to win that battle to have an opportunity to win.

    Oklahoma has only played one quality defensive team to date, and lost. Running up the scoreboard against the likes of Kansas and even Texas this year may produce impressive statistics, but they are probably a bit misleading. Just like every other quality offense we’ve faced, focus on shutting down the run and putting as much pressure on Landry Jones as possible, making them one dimensional. If he still beats us through the air, all credit to them. I’ll like our chances.

    Wild cards will be turnovers (both teams highly ranked in turnover margin – not sure we can overcome those types of mistakes) and special teams, which I’m more than wary of. Ben Turk averaging just over 40 yards a punt just doesn’t cut it. We can’t miss filed goals and we have to cover punts and kickoffs. I’m fearful that a big play there could be the deciding factor, and not in our favor.

    • 808raiderinparadise - Oct 22, 2012 at 8:35 PM

      Not a game ND can win 20-17 … Golson has to make big plays and score 28-31 points to win this game.

  2. idratherbeinsouthbend - Oct 22, 2012 at 5:26 PM

    If ND does this, If ND does that….really?

    You guys know by now that i love a little PERSPECTIVE…

    If OU can protect the QB they have a chance to win.
    If OU can manage some big plays against our secondary, they have a chance to win.
    If OU can score TD’s in the red zone, they have a chance to win.
    If OU stop EG from making impromtu plays with his feet and his arm, they have a chance to win.

    OU has a chance to win…but they’ll have to play perfect football for four quarters. If not, the FIGHTING IRISH from NOTRE DAME will emerge they victors.

    • ndfaithful - Oct 23, 2012 at 8:35 AM

      Love it! Now we’re talkin!
      I completely agree. I think if we put up 20-24 points, we win. OU doesn’t know what’s coming for them.

  3. North of Denver - Oct 22, 2012 at 7:09 PM

    The commenter’s name 4Horses made me realize the solution to the quarterback “controversy” and the “how do we get each of RBs more touches” dilemma. Solution: Return to 1924-style with Death, Destruction, Pestilence, and Famine. But those are aliases; their real names are Riddick, Wood, Atkinson and McDaniel. Can any of these guys throw the ball to Eifert?

  4. bernhtp - Oct 22, 2012 at 7:28 PM

    I’m not as nearly as negative on ND’s chances as most here. OU is a very good team that is starting to live up to their preseason hype. They will have their home crowd. But this Notre Dame team is figuring out how to win. If they need to open up the offense some to win, they will. The defense will be the best OU has seen.

    I’m going to the game. It will be my first time in Norman, and likely the last. I’m used to being hated. Hell, most of my neighbors are U Texas grads and they haven’t gotten over the ’77 Cotton Bowl where we “stole” the National Championship from them and from Earle Campbell, who had just captured the Heisman.

  5. tjak2 - Oct 22, 2012 at 7:37 PM

    I am so freaking glad that we are 10 pt underdogs. Say what you want about various aspects of the Irish, they have gelled and they will go into Norman together as one. Also, I love the hate. Hate is not the opposite of love, indifference is. It will be easier for our boys and Kelly to get themselves up for the hate. We will win this thing.

  6. mannydomer61 - Oct 22, 2012 at 7:42 PM

    What is wrong with you people, ou has beaten no one this year. They were over rated to begin the year and are getting lots of love over blowing out some pretty awful defenses.
    Sorry I’m not buying into this sooner hype. We all know they have a talented team but have only faced one true test and lost that game at home.
    We go into Norman as we have every other game, with a game plan to expose the other teams weaknesses. That we will do and come out with a hard fought win. CHEER CHEER FOR OLD NOTRE DAME WAKE UP THE ECHOES CHEERING HER NAME!!

  7. rpbags - Oct 22, 2012 at 7:45 PM

    Would like to see Bk come out in 5 wide and run that o just like he did in Cincy! Gotta do something to score because the d will e tested as it is and we are gonna have to score points! OU has been know to lay a few eggs in big games and i love the fact that nobody in this world gives us a chance and says we are gonna lose by 50 points…..IF so hats of to OU but to be honest we have a chance to win this game and if the lords willing and the creek dont rise ND will rise to the occasion and get that W!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! LETS GO IRISH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  8. elwaysmilehighdenver - Oct 22, 2012 at 8:12 PM

    Blake Bell rushes for 3 TDs and rushes for 125 yds against that Swiss cheese domer d!

    • irish4006 - Oct 24, 2012 at 12:53 AM

      And Landry throws for eleventy billion yards to score 993 million points! Why stop at someone no one (outside of N-o-o-o-rman, Oklahoma) has even heard of? If you are going to dream, at least dream big.

  9. ndfaithful - Oct 22, 2012 at 8:21 PM

    Oh baby! If that’s the way the Sooners feel – this is going to be one exciting game day!

    GO IRISH!!!

  10. jerseyshorendfan1 - Oct 22, 2012 at 8:30 PM

    Did their fan really refer to ND players as Papist hooligans? What’s in the back of that Sooner Schooner, white robes, pointy hats, wooden crosses and kerosene? Some folks in those flyover states make me nervous.

    On another note, I’m glad to see some posters on here have finally grown a pair and are predicting an Irish win. I am predicting an Irish domination, a blowout. This is our year. Now is the time. Golson shines. Manti is a steamroller.

    Some of you namby pamby fair weather fans are still ” hoping we don’t get blown out.” Your penance shall be the following: limited to one post per Keith Arnold article for the remainder of the season; said posts shall contain not more than three concise enumerated bullet points; no critique of KA; and, most importantly, the words “Tommy” and “Rees” shall be expressly forbidden.

    Lastly, F*** Oklahoma. Go Irish.

    • jimpy49 - Oct 24, 2012 at 3:30 PM

      Great Post Jerseyshorendfan1

  11. h3rec0medairish - Oct 22, 2012 at 11:34 PM

    They won’t be having a freestyle session in the locker room when we beat them!

  12. getsome99 - Oct 22, 2012 at 11:54 PM

    Who the hell put this game on the schedule? Shouldn’t we be playing Air Force this week leaving only USC standing in our way of a BCS Championship game?

    • bjc378 - Oct 23, 2012 at 5:52 AM

      We’re Notre Dame. Ever heard of us? We play a hard schedule. That’s part of it. And you can bring your refs too. We’ll still beat you. Then go study.

      • getsome99 - Oct 23, 2012 at 8:35 PM

        It was a joke

  13. gopokes0714 - Oct 23, 2012 at 11:54 AM

    Best chance for ND is to expose their o-line. Up until 2 weeks ago it wasn’t very good. As OK state & K state showed, if you touch Landry he will choke.

    If ND is unable to touch Landry it will be a long day.

    I am counting on you ND!

  14. sassysooner - Oct 23, 2012 at 2:26 PM

    I have to chime in on behalf of all Sooner fans unfer the age of 65. WE ARE THRILLED FOR YOUR ARRIVAL! We respect the hell outta your program and legacy. True story. No hate at all…this is beyond exciting that we have known this game was on the calendar for many years and now that it’s here both teams are playing at an exceptional caliber.

    As far as the original story goes, there isn’t a soul I know who “hates” ND. Is it cool to hear the back story from the 50’s? Sure. History is great! Do we, in 2012, hate the irish? NOPE! Welcome to Norman, folks…it’s gonna be a bumpy and fantastic ride!

    BOOMER!!! 😉

    P.S. hey “gopokes0714” – shouldn’t you be rooting for your instate team to win so that when it comes time for Bedlam and you “beat us” it’ll help your ranking? 😉 Typical!

  15. 11thstreetmafia - Oct 24, 2012 at 9:35 AM

    FU OU!

  16. fnc111 - Oct 24, 2012 at 8:22 PM

    I’m not so sure it’s ND fans taking games too seriously but rather the espn’s of the world that bash ND for not winning enough titles. ND fans are the best at sticking up for the school is all. It’s fun to watch ND football especially when #11 is only a back-up.

  17. olebubba - Oct 27, 2012 at 11:22 AM

    My God OU fans…get over it, and get use to it. ND rolls in to Norman and “owns” you again! ND 27 – OU 13.

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