Oklahoma vs. Nebraska – Game Recap – September 17, 2022

LINCOLN, Neb. — When Saturday’s Oklahoma-Nebraska game was scheduled 10 years ago, the intent was to celebrate what was once among college football’s greatest rivalries.

It turned out to be further confirmation that the Cornhuskers are but a shell of the program that decades ago battled the Sooners for conference titles year after year.

Dylan Gabriel threw for two touchdowns and rushed for another, and sixth-ranked Oklahoma beat Nebraska 49-14 in the Huskers’ first game since firing Scott Frost.

OU (3-0) recorded its lopsided victory over Nebraska (1-3) since a 45-10 victory in 1990 and scored the most points in Lincoln in 43 visits all-time. The Sooners have won seven of eight against the Huskers. The next meetings are scheduled for 2029 and ’30.

“We’ve done nothing but win our first road game,” first-year OU coach Brent Venables said. “No one beats their chests here. It was a good, strong win today and I think we improved in a lot of different ways today.”

The Huskers have lost 19 straight against Top 25 opponents and nine straight against Bowl Subdivision teams.

Frost’s tenure, which spanned four years plus three games, was marked by close games. The first under interim head coach Mickey Joseph was never in doubt after the first quarter and Memorial Stadium began to empty at halftime.

Joseph said it was obvious he didn’t prepare his team emotionally.

“It’s not my kids’ fault, it’s not my assistant coaches’ fault, it’s on me,” he said. “I have to take responsibility for it and I did. Next week we’ll be fine. We have eight games left and we will prepare to win some games.”

Oklahoma scored 35 straight points after Nebraska opened the game with a six-play, 77-yard touchdown drive. The Huskers went just 71 yards on their next 37 plays in the first half and didn’t score again until backup quarterback Chubba Purdy ran for a late touchdown.

Gabriel was 16 of 27 for 230 yards and turned things over to backup Davis Bevil on the third drive of the second half. The Sooners finished with 580 total yards, 312 on the ground.

“I’m extremely critical of myself and I felt like I left a lot of things on the field,” Gabriel said. “We were a couple of explosive games away from making us feel really good about the way we’re playing.”

Gabriel gave the Sooners a career-long 61-yard touchdown run on a quarterback draw. “What sweet feet he had,” said Venables.

Gabriel then threw a 25-yard pass to Jalil Farooq to put his team ahead. Marcus Major scored the next two TDs. The first score was a short run and the second on a trick play where Gabriel threw to tight end Braden Willis, who fired a 24-yard pass to a wide-open Major.

Eric Gray’s 16-yard field goal made it 35-7 at the half, and then the Sooners mostly kept it on the ground to chew up the clock.

The Huskers’ Casey Thompson was 14 of 20 for 129 yards and a touchdown and was sacked four times. He was replaced by Purdy after the Huskers were down 49-7 midway through the third quarter.

Nebraska and Oklahoma combined for 44 of 48 Big Seven and Big Eight championships and 11 national titles from 1948-1995.

Nebraska and Oklahoma players from the 1970s and 1980s made a weekend of it. The Huskers’ 1970-71 national championship teams came together and Johnny Rodgers was honored on the field to mark the 50th anniversary of his winning the Heisman Trophy.

Joseph said he did not expect such a poor performance.

“Yeah, it’s surprising,” he said. “But I wanted them to keep fighting and they did. It’s for me. I have to solve this problem.”

THE EXECUTION

Oklahoma: After scoring seven points in the first half against Kent State last week, the Sooners had 35 at the half and will enter the Big 12 playoffs their most complete game of the season on both sides of the ball.

Nebraska: The defense continues to falter after giving up more than 500 yards to a third straight Bowl Subdivision opponent. The offensive line doesn’t give Thompson a chance to create a rhythm.

CONSEQUENCES OF THE SURVEY

The Sooners will maintain their spot in the AP Top 25 and could break into the top five if one of the teams ahead of them slips on Saturday night.

EARLIER DISMISSED

Oklahoma’s DaShawn White was ejected for tackling in the second quarter when he hit Thompson with the crown of his helmet after Thompson released the ball.

LINE CHANGE

Nebraska left tackle Teddy Prohaska did not dress with a shoulder injury and is out for the season, Joseph said. Turner Corcoran, who started the first three games at left guard, took Prohaska’s place.

NEXT

Oklahoma: Hosts Kansas State Saturday in Big 12 opener.

Nebraska: Open date before hosting Indiana on Oct. 1.

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