NORMAN, Okla. -- Notre Dame has an offense. Consequently, Notre Dame has a title shot.
The Irish defense was something the country had taken obvious note of in their 7-0 start, and that was no different here Saturday night in their 30-13 victory at Oklahoma. But an offense? For the Irish, now 8-0 as November approaches, that was new.
A unit finding its way with a freshman quarterback went on the road against a top-10 team -- with a defense allowing 4.5 yards a play -- and rolled up 403 yards of offense (6.1 per play) and scored 30 points.
"Our offense elevated itself against a great opponent, on the road," coach Brian Kelly said afterward, adding that there was a palpable confidence emanating from the team -- and especially the offense. "They knew they were going to play well."
The aforementioned freshman quarterback, Everett Golson, didn't even play last week against BYU as the result of a concussion the previous week. He said he used that time to clear his head, literally and figuratively. And he emerged a different player.
Kelly told us Friday that Golson would have to make plays if the team was going to win at a louder-than-normal Owen Field. That raised my eyebrow. We become accustomed to teams with great defenses needing only "game managers," players whose job description is simply: Don't screw it up.
But Kelly had more in mind for Golson. He pushed that burden on him, believing he was capable even in his infancy. That was never more the case than the possession following an Oklahoma touchdown that tied the game with nine minutes to go.
Kelly gave Golson consecutive passing plays, the second a 50-yard strike to Chris Brown down the middle of the field in what might turn out to be a season-defining play for the QB and the Irish.