Recap: OU outlasts Nebraska in 23-16 slugfest

September 18, 2021
NCAA Football: Nebraska at Oklahoma
Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

It was another hard fought clash between these historic rivals.

In a rivalry renewed, the No. 3 Oklahoma Sooners held off a gutsy effort from the Nebraska Cornhuskers (2-2) en route to a 23-16 victory. With the win, OU wraps up the non-conference portion of its schedule and improves to 3-0 on the season.

Heisman hopeful QB Spencer Rattler had himself a solid showing against the Huskers’ defense. In total, the redshirt sophomore completed 24 of 34 passing attempts 214 yards, one touchdown and no interceptions. He also added 35 rushing yards and another score on six carries.

Defensively, the Sooners went toe-to-toe with Nebraska’s O-line and QB Adrian Martinez. On the day, OU gave up 289 yards passing, 95 yards rushing and recorded this incredible fourth down interception thanks to talented sophomore CB D.J. Graham.

In the first half, Oklahoma started strong on offense with a methodical drive down the field to go up early, 7-0. Nebraska answered right away with a long drive of their own resulting in a field goal. That 7-3 margin would remain through the halftime break, giving this rivalry contest all the makings of another instant classic.

In the second half, the Sooners’ defense continued to hold strong despite allowing the Cornhuskers to sustain a few drives by way of some key third down conversions. A couple special teams miscues and timely defensive stops down the stretch ultimately proved to be enough to successfully hold off Scott Frost’s would-be upset bid.

The biggest momentum shift of the game came immediately after Nebraska’s Martinez led his team down the field and into the end zone. On the subsequent point-after attempt, Oklahoma’s Isaiah Coe plowed through the line and blocked the kick, sending the live ball right into the hands of senior safety and team captain Patrick Fields, who returned the gift 100 yards for two points.

As it stands now, two out of three games for Oklahoma have come down to the wire, but it shouldn’t be forgotten how this team has responded when the game was on the line. Going forward, it’ll be paramount that this group continues to make improvements each week while finding a way to win, no matter the circumstance.

Up next, Oklahoma opens Big 12 play at home on Saturday, Sept. 25 against the West Virginia. Last season, OU’s meeting with WVU was canceled due to COVID-19 related issues, and since the Mountaineers joined the conference in 2012, the Sooners have won all eight contests in the series. Kick-off is set for 6:30 p.m. CT on ABC.

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