SOUTH BEND – Notre Dame enters the final quarter within striking distance of Oklahoma as the No. 22 Irish trail the No. 14 Sooners 27-14.
The Irish will start the fourth quarter at the Sooners' 35-yard line.
Notre Dame got exactly what it needed at the start of the second half.
The Irish defense forced the Sooners to punt on their first series, giving Notre Dame the ball on its 20.
On the next play, Atkinson bursts through the line for an 80-yard touchdown run to cut Oklahoma's lead to 21-14 with 12:31 to play in the third quarter.
The Sooners responded by driving to the Irish 6-yard line, but Stephon Tuitt came up with a tackle for a 3-yard loss on quarterback Blake Bell to force Oklahoma to settle for a 27-yard field goal from Michael Hunnicutt and a 24-14 lead with 8:11 to play in the third.
The Irish couldn't respond on their drive and had to punt. Notre Dame's Kyle Brindza got some help when his 29-yard punt got an additional 15 yards thanks to a Sooners' personal foul pushed them back to their 33.
Bell appeared to injure his left leg on the second play of the series, and after running for an 11-yard gain, Bell had to be helped off the field and to the locker room.
Trevor Knight, who started the first two games for the Sooners, came in and ran for a 30-yard gain on his first play to move the ball to the Irish 26.
Oklahoma got down to the 2, but the Irish were able to keep the Sooners out of the end zone as they settled for a 19-yard field goal from Hunnicutt with 2:43 left in the third.