ND (7-0) remained at No. 5 on Sunday, though No. 4 Kansas State widened its gap with the Irish and No. 6 LSU closed its. CBSSports.com poll analyst Jerry Palm projects Notre Dame remaining at fifth in the latest BCS standings when those are released later Sunday night.
The Irish rallied from a halftime deficit for the second week in a row, this time overtaking BYU (4-4), 17-14, Saturday at Notre Stadium.
ND plays at Oklahoma (5-1) in a nationally televised showdown Saturday night. The Sooners climbed a couple of spots, to No. 8, and are listed as early 8-and-a-half-point favorites by the Las Vegas odds-makers.
For the second time in three weeks, the ESPN GameDay crew will be broadcasting live from the site of an Irish football game. They visited South Bend the weekend of Oct. 13 for the ND-Stanford game.
ND made some significant statistical strides this week, jumping to No. 38 (out of 120) nationally in rushing offense, after amassing 270 Saturday against the nation’s No. 3 rush defense.
The Irish improved from 25th to 15th in rush defense and 11th to sixth in total defense after their sixth straight game in which they’ve held their opponent to less than 300 yards in total offense. ND is eighth in pass-efficiency defense and second in scoring defense.
Oklahoma is the best offense the Irish will see or have seen this season – No. 17 in total offense and No. 5 in scoring offense.
Individually, Irish linebacker Manti Te’o and cornerback Bennett Jackson are tied for fourth nationally in intecpetions. Te’o, who ranks 23rd nationally in tackles, recorded his fourth pick this season on Saturday. He’s one shy of the school record for linebackers.
Sophomore defensive end Stephon Tuitt, with eight sacks, is fifth nationally in that category.