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Notre Dame's Atkinson delivers

SOUTH BEND – George Atkinson III had the best performance by a Notre Dame running back this season in last weekend's 35-21 loss to No. 11 Oklahoma.

Atkinson ran for 148 of the Irish's 220 yards and scored on an 80-yard touchdown.

"He's just such a weapon," running back Cam McDaniel said. "I think each year you are here at Notre Dame, you are going to mature and you are going to grow and you are going to be coached that much more.

"But the man has always been, when he gets an open space, he's pretty hard to stop."

McDaniel said Atkinson's performance doesn't change the competition between the running backs, which also includes Amir Carlilse, Tarean Folston and Greg Bryant, for playing time. And that all the running backs will try to do what Atkinson did against Oklahoma when Notre Dame (3-2) plays No. 22 Arizona State (3-1) on Saturday in Arlington, Texas.

"I think me, George, Amir and Tarean, we've all kind of had opportunities so far," McDaniel said. "Last week, George took his opportunity and ran with it, very literally.

"He took it 80 yards. They weren't stopping him. He kind of had the hot hand that game. If they aren't stopping him, it is hard to take him out, I guess."

For more on Atkinson's performance last week and how he wants to build off it, read Thursday's Journal Gazette.

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