Photo Credit: Eric Francis

Bullet Points: Oklahoma 49 Nebraska 14

September 17, 2022

New coach, new lease on the 2022 season, old rival, same result. Despite feelings of a fresh start early on Saturday, thanks to Mickey Joseph’s debut as Nebraska’s interim head coach, notions of an upset of No. 6 Oklahoma evaporated early as the Sooners rolled.

Nebraska (1-3, 0-1) did come out with some energy right away, getting a sack on the first drive of the game to force an Oklahoma punt. The Husker offense marched down the field quickly for a touchdown and a 7-0 lead.

Oklahoma (3-0) would score the next 49 points.

The Sooners averaged 6.5 yards per rush and 7.5 yards per play overall before the backups took over midway through the third quarter. Oklahoma had held Nebraska to 2.8 yards per rush and 4 per play to that point.

Backup quarterback Chubba Purda scored a touchdown on the Huskers’ final offensive drive of the game, his first as a Husker, rushing in from 8 yards out.

The win moved Oklahoma to 47-38-3 all time against Nebraska.

The Huskers are off next week, probably a much-needed break, before welcoming Indiana to Memorial Stadium Oct. 1. On to some grim notes, stats and observations from Saturday:

  • As it did in games against Northwestern and North Dakota, Nebraska’s offense zipped down the field on its first drive. The Huskers needed just six plays––all successful by success rate thresholds––to go 77 yards, traveling the final 32 on a pass from Casey Thompson to Trey Palmer. It was the third time in four games Nebraska jumped out to a 7-0 lead. It was third time Nebraska let that lead slip away.
  • After getting formationed into some conflicts––and allowing 12.8 yards per play on the first drive––Oklahoma’s defense got down to business. Five of the Huskers’ next six first-half drives would include at least one negative play––a tackle for loss or sack––from Oklahoma. At the half, the Sooners had four sacks for 32 yards lost, and four more TFLs for another 14 yards lost.
  • Oklahoma entered the game third nationally at 4.5 sacks per game with a sack rate of 11.1%. It’s sack rate in the first against Nebraska: 18.2%. The Huskers were allowing a sack on 6.7% of dropbacks entering Saturday.
  • Nebraska was without starting left tackle Teddy Prochazka, seen on the sidelines prior to the game with his arm in a sling. In his absence, Turner Corcoran slid out to left tackle and Kevin Williams replaced him at left guard. (UPDATE: Joseph said after the game that Prochazka would be done for the season and taking a redshirt year.)
  • After falling behind 7-0, Oklahoma’s offense got busy, too. A 61-yard touchdown run from quarterback Dillon Gabriel turned a favorable situation for Nebraska, third-and-7, into a tie game. Five of the Sooners’ next six first-half drives would end in a scoring opportunity. Four of those opportunities ended in touchdowns, part of a 35-0 first-half run, the fifth ended on a missed field goal.
  • This was the state of things defensively at the half:

  • With the Huskers trailing 49-7 with 9 minutes remaining in the third quarter, Thompson gave away to backup quarterback Chubba Purdy. Thompson, when he wasn’t being sacked, was sort of his typical self, completing 14-of-20 passes (70%) with a touchdown.
  • Oklahoma nearly made it 11 full quarters before committing its first turnover of the season. The Sooners fumbled a QB-RB exchange with 3:24 left in the third quarter.
  • Running back Anthony Grant was held below 100 yards rushing for the first time in his four-game Husker career. Grant carried 13 times for 36 yards (2.8 yards per carry).
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