Notre Dame stumbled out of the gate offensively for the fourth game in a row.

Unlike the previous two weeks, the Irish couldn’t overcome the slow start Saturday against Oklahoma. And now the team finds itself out of The Associated Press top 25 poll.

Oklahoma turned three first-half Notre Dame interceptions into points on the way to a 35-21 victory at Notre Dame Stadium. Notre Dame (3-2) moves forward with several questions. But one isn’t who will be guiding the offense.

“There’s no question, the quarterback that’s going to start for us is Tommy Rees,” Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly said Sunday.

Rees went 9 of 24 for 104 yards Saturday. He threw the three interceptions and also had two touchdowns. Rees was 14 of 34 for 142 yards the previous week against Michigan State.

“We’ve just got to be more consistent, deal better with certain situations, stay out of negative downs” Rees said Saturday. “Just continue to work hard and get better.”

The struggles also extend to the receivers and the line, according to Kelly.

“We did not do a good job of helping (Rees) out (Saturday) in some of the routes,” Kelly said. “… There were a number of instances that he wasn’t protected as well as he needed to be or the routes were not run as well.”

Notre Dame rotated backup quarterback Andrew Hendrix into some series throughout Saturday. He had five carries for 10 yards and was also 0-for-1 passing.

“That’s something we’re trying to include within the offense and moving forward, continuing to integrate him into the offense,” Kelly said. “… Andrew gives us that dimension that allows us to run the football, help us out in some short-yardage situations where we know it’s been difficult for us with so many guys on the line of scrimmage that it doesn’t turn into throw the football every time.”

Kelly would like to avoid using the third-string quarterback, freshman Malik Zaire, this season.

“You’re not going to see Malik unless we get into an injury situation,” Kelly said. “We only have the three quarterbacks, so we have to keep him ready to go. But I’d prefer not to play him unless we have a medical situation.”

Notes: Kelly said Notre Dame will discuss linebacker Ben Councell’s fourth-quarter targeting ejection with the commissioner of the ACC. “We’ll make our case that in video as we’ve looked at it, we clearly don’t see any intent for him to lead and intentionally try to strike with his helmet,” Kelly said. … Kelly said wide receiver TJ Jones “rolled” an ankle during the Oklahoma game. “We don’t see that that’s going to be something that’s long range,” Kelly said of the injury. … Defensive lineman Sheldon Day “tweaked” an ankle during pregame drills against the Sooners and did not play. … Running back Greg Bryant did not play against Oklahoma because of a knee injury.