Here’s our preview and prediction for the upcoming Big 12 game in our Oklahoma vs. Nebraska preview and prediction.
Saturday, September 18, 2021; 11:00 am; Gaylord Family – Oklahoma Memorial Stadium; Norman, OK
TV: FOX (Gus Johnson, Joel Klatt, and Jenny Taft)
Radio: Sooner Sports Network (Toby Rowland and Teddy Lehman); Huskers Radio Network (Greg Sharpe and Matt Davison).
Spread: OU by 22.5
Fun Fact: The Huskers and Sooners have met 36 times in the last half-century. Seventeen times they were both in the Top 10; eight times in the Top 5. Nearly every meeting was to determine the Big Eight/Big 12 Champion.
Quarterback Adrian Martinez
The senior signal-caller has been one of the shining stars for the Cornhuskers this year. He’s completed 62.3 percent of his passes for 4 touchdowns and no picks. Martinez also is Nebraska’s leading rusher with 256 yards (7.5 per carry) and three scores.
Receiver Samori Toure
The senior wideout has become Martinez’s primary target in the past two games. After only catching 3 passes for 37 yards against Illinois, Toure has hauled in a total of 10 passes for 269 yards and 2 TDs the last two outings. He also carried the ball three times for 35 yards and a score in the Huskers’ victory over Fordham in week two.
Safety Deontai Williams
Williams had two interceptions that set up NU scoring drives against Fordham. The senior also has logged 14 tackles this year, including one behind the line of scrimmage, and broke up one pass.
Linebacker Garrett Nelson
The sophomore ’backer has recorded 11 tackles, 4.5 for loss, half a sack, and one QB hurry this season.
Quarterback Spencer Rattler
Rattler was the preseason favorite to win OU’s eighth Heisman Trophy, but he had a lackadaisical performance by tossing two interceptions in the opening season victory over Tulane. Last Saturday, he had a better performance completing 20 of 26 for 243 yards and 5 TDs in one half against Western Carolina. The redshirt sophomore also scrambled for 22 yards before he was stopped a yard short of the goal line.
Coach Lincoln Riley attributed Rattler’s improved performance to patience: “He had a mindset to just go execute and really never got off of that. That’s what the best ones do.”
Receiver Jadon Haselwood
After missing most of 2020 due to injury, Haselwood looks like he’s back to show why he was a five-star receiver in high school. The redshirt sophomore caught four passes for 19 yards and a couple of TDs. Rattler told Haselwood before the WCU game, “I’m gonna get you in that end zone a couple of times.” Haselwood had 19 receptions for 272 yards and one score in 2019. Look for him to be one of the top go-to guys for Rattler in the future.
Kicker Gabe Brkic
Brkic continues to show his leg strength as he nailed a 56-yard field goal into a brisk breeze last Saturday. This year, the redshirt junior has made four of five field goals—three of them from 50 yards or more. In addition to kick-off duty, Brkic has made 37 of 43 (86%) of his career field goals and has yet to miss a PAT in 11 career attempts.
Linebacker Danny Stutsman
The freshman backup linebacker led the Sooners with eight tackles vs. WCU, including half a sack and a forced fumble. Stutsman was sidelined with an injury last Saturday, and no update has been given on his condition so far this week.
The Huskers once were the cream of the crop in the college football world. Now, they are a shell of their former selves. After losing to Illinois in the season opener, NU defeated Fordham and Buffalo, not powerhouse teams. A win in Norman this week could be a huge step to turn Nebraska’s program around. Martinez will have to have a great game to make the upset happen. The Sooners’ defense, which has trouble with mobile quarterbacks, must contain Martinez, another mobile guy. Don’t allow Martinez time in the pocket.
OU coaches were pleased with the progress of the team’s execution last week. The momentum should carry forward as the team knows the importance of this week’s opponent. The Sooners had a balanced attack against WCU last week—38 running plays and 38 passing plays; 277 yards on the ground and 347 through the air. A balanced attack again this week will translate to a big victory. Lincoln Riley has too many weapons at his disposal if Huskers try to make OU one-dimensional.
Prediction: Oklahoma 38 Nebraska 14
This game was scheduled nine years ago to mark the 50th anniversary of the “Game of the Century” when No. 1 Nebraska beat No. 2 Oklahoma 35-31. The No. 3 Sooners will prove they are among the elite in the college football world and send the Huskers back to Lincoln with their tail tucked between their legs.