Five takeaways from the Sooners’ debacle of the Cornhuskers

Five takeaways from the Sooners’ debacle of the Cornhuskers

LINCOLN, Neb. — There are still many questions surrounding Brent Venables’ first OU football team.

But the Sooners beat Nebraska, 49-14, on Saturday at Memorial Stadium.

Here are five takeaways from OU’s win:

More:OU football wins largest margin of victory over Nebraska since 1990 and more stats

September 17, 2022;  Lincoln, Nebraska, USA  Oklahoma Sooners quarterback Dillon Gabriel (8) runs for a touchdown past Nebraska Cornhuskers quarterback Isaac Gifford (23) during the first quarter at Memorial Stadium.  Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

September 17, 2022; Lincoln, Nebraska, USA Oklahoma Sooners quarterback Dillon Gabriel (8) runs for a touchdown past Nebraska Cornhuskers quarterback Isaac Gifford (23) during the first quarter at Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Dillon Gabriel, OU offense still have questions

OU’s offense woke up after another rough start.

After scoring on the first drive of the game, the Sooners scored touchdowns on six of their next eight drives.

But it wasn’t all roses for OU.

Goaltender Dillon Gabriel was just 11 of 20 in the first half, often missing his target.

But even in his mistakes, Gabriel didn’t give Nebraska many opportunities to turn those mistakes into turnovers.

More:How OU football standout Reggie Grimes is embracing his return to his Nebraska roots

That made a big difference, as even without their best stuff behind center, OU’s offense was quite productive.

Gabriel finished 16 of 27 for 230 yards and two touchdowns.

Still, it was the most points the Sooners ever scored at Nebraska. The previous high was 48 in a shutout win in 1949. It was just the seventh time OU beat Nebraska by 20 or more points in Lincoln.

OU eventually outgained Nebraska 580-327, rushing for 312 yards. Eric Gray rushed for 113 yards and two touchdowns on 11 carries.

The Sooners converted 10 of 16 third downs.

Tramel: We know Nebraska football is not good. The OU Sooners? Maybe they are good enough.

DaShaun White bounces, Jaren Kanak comes up big

OU “cheetah” DaShaun White got off to a strong start, leading the Sooners with six tackles early, one of them a sack.

He also broke a pass.

But late in the second quarter, White rushed Nebraska quarterback Casey Thompson and caught Thompson with helmet-to-helmet contact as Thompson took off.

White was called for roughing the passer and targeting, which was confirmed upon review, resulting in his ejection.

The shutout cleared the way for freshman Jaren Kanak, who stepped in for White.

Canuck had a tackle on the second play after White was sent off. On the next play, he had his sights set on Thompson in the backfield, but Thompson cleared the tackle. It didn’t matter much as Ethan Downs was right behind Kanak and finished the sack.

On the first play of the third quarter, Thompson hit Trey Palmer for a 21-yard gain, but Kanak stripped and took the ball.

Kanak ended up leading the Sooners with 10 tackles after totaling seven in his first two games.

OU Football Report Card: The Sooners game plan is spot on to demolish Nebraska

Defense comes through Casey Thompson, Huskers

Last season at Texas, Casey Thompson made life difficult for the Sooners before OU completed the comeback.

There were no such heroics from Thompson after the opening drive on Saturday.

OU turned up the pressure on Thompson, constantly letting him scramble.

The Sooners had four sacks in the win.

Thompson finished 14 of 20 for just 129 yards and one touchdown.

The Cornhuskers didn’t get on the board a second time until backup quarterback Chubba Purdy — the younger brother of former Iowa State star quarterback Brock Purdy — ran for an 8-yard touchdown.

More:Why OU football’s 1972 win over Nebraska was ‘like an erupting volcano’ for Sooners

Wanya Morris makes her season debut

Wanya Morris didn’t start at tackle for the Sooners, but it didn’t take him long to make his season debut.

Morris entered on OU’s third drive, making his season debut after missing the first two games with off-field issues.

Morris slid to right tackle, taking Tyler Guyton’s spot, though Guyton continued to play at times.

Key Lawrence, who missed last week’s game against Kent State, returned to action while freshman Nic Anderson dressed for the first time.

Tramel: The Hollywood script has the son of former OU quarterback Charles Thompson leading Nebraska

The turnover streak ends

The Sooners went two and a half games without a turnover before the streak ended.

Late in the third quarter, backup quarterback Davis Bevill fumbled while trying to pass the ball, and Nebraska’s Garrett Nelson fell on it.

The Sooners hadn’t gone without a turnover in their first two games since at least 1936.

Through three games, OU is plus-5 in turnover margin after forcing two turnovers at Nebraska.

Tramel’s ScissorTales: Playoffs, TV deals could bring OU and Texas to SEC through 2024

OU vs. Nebraska live updates

A Twitter list by jeffpattOKC

This article originally appeared in The Oklahoman: Oklahoma vs. Nebraska football: Eric Gray, Sooners beat Cornhuskers

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