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Notre Dame searches for consistency

Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly wants his team to start quicker.

The No. 22 Irish (3-1), who play host to No. 14 Oklahoma on Saturday, have scored just 10 points in the first quarter in the last three games.

But there is a silver lining to Notre Dame's slow starts.

The Irish have only been outscored 50-47 in the first half this season and are outscoring opponents 59-34 in the second half.

"We've always talked about starting fast," Kelly told reporters Thursday. "It really hasn't been part of this group yet consistently, but what they do is they finish really well, so I'd stick around if I were you, because they know how to finish games. We just need to make plays down the stretch."

While the team has found ways to win by rallying after halftime, Kelly said the Irish will need to do more against an Oklahoma team that is holding teams to nine points per game while averaging 33.7 points.

"We have to do a better job of being consistent through four quarters," Kelly said. "We haven't really put together those four quarters of really good football. We're going to need to do that against Oklahoma. If we get off to a poor start and don't play well for a few quarters, we're going to find ourselves in a very difficult situation against a very good team in Oklahoma."

The Journal Gazette's Assistant Sports Editor Tony Krausz covers The University of Notre Dame. Krausz, a graduate of the University of Missouri School of Journalism and a native of St. Louis, has been assistant sports editor since October 2005. Prior to joining the JG, he worked at two papers in Mississippi covering high school and college athletics.