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Irish Insights

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Associated Press

Te'o's simple plan

Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o didn't talk about doing something "extraordinary" like coach Brian Kelly did when it came to trying to stop Oklahoma quarterback Blake Bell, who replaces starter Landry Jones in some short-yardage situations.

Instead, Te'o had a simple plan of how to keep the 6-foot-6, 254-pound sophomore out of the end zone when No. 5 Notre Dame (7-0) plays at No. 8 Oklahoma (5-1) on Saturday.

"You just hit him," Te'o said during his Wednesday news conference. "There is nothing different. At the end of the day, you just bring him to the ground."

Bell has been extremely difficult to bring to the ground in the red zone when Oklahoma shifts to a package labeled "Belldozer."

Bell has carried the ball 15 times inside opponents' 10-yard lines this year, and he has scored touchdowns eight times.

Since the Sooners started using Bell in this fashion last season, he has 21 touchdowns in 13 games. And he is the third player in Oklahoma history to score four times in one game twice, doing it in a 63-21 win over Texas on Oct. 13 and against Baylor last season.

Bell's efficiency in the red zone still didn't sway Te'o on how a Notre Dame defense, which has yet to give up a touchdown this season, will keep Oklahoma's touchdown machine from scoring.

"He runs the same as anybody else," Te'o said. "Obviously, he is bigger than normal running backs, but it's football. There is nothing different."

Te'o was named a one of 15 national scholar-athletes by the National Football Foundation on Wednesday.

The Irish senior, who has a 3.32 GPA and in majoring in grapic design, received an $18,000 postgraduate scholarship.

Te'o is in the running for the Campbell Trophy, given to the nation's top scholar-athlete. If he is selected from the 15 finalists, Te'o's scholarship would grow to $25,000.

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