The Irish racked up 126 yards on two drives, running the ball right down Oklahoma's throat. But the first Irish drive of the half went 60 yards on 11 plays, only to end in a missed 35-yard field goal attempt by Kyle Brindza. The Irish defense responded by again bending but not breaking, as Landry Jones completed six straight passes, but the drive stalled at the Irish 36.
A punt gave the Irish the ball at their own 3-yard line, and Everett Golson began what could be the defining drive of his young career. A 16-yard run and a 22-yard pass to DaVaris Daniels flipped the field, and the Irish kept marching. Golson took a hard hit from Tony Jefferson on a short run and had to leave the field for third-and-7. But backup Tommy Rees came in and promptly hit Daniels for an 11-yard pass, setting the Irish up with first-and-10 from the Oklahoma 27 to start the fourth quarter.