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“They’re who you would expect Notre Dame to be: hard-nosed, hard-working, smashmouth-type, traditional-type football-playing kind of guys,” defensive end R.J. Washington said. “They’re not trying to do anything flashy. They’re just trying to go out there and beat you whatever way they can. I feel like teams with history like that still play like that. Notre Dame has that kind of history. We have that kind of history.”

Even if they may not be deeply familiar with all that history, the players understand that this game could be meaningful for years to come. Quarterback Landry Jones agreed that it could go a long way toward determining his legacy with the Sooners, his words coming less than 24 hours after Oklahoma showed a replay of its 1956 game against the Irish.

“Every game is important. So we approach every game that way,” Te'o said. “And I think we’ve come a long way, and I think at this point in time in the season, every game is a signature game.”