Here is everything you need to know about the upcoming matchup between the Oklahoma Sooners and the Nebraska Cornhuskers.
Saturday, September 17, 11:00 a.m. CT; Memorial Stadium; Lincoln, Nebraska
Radio: Sooner Sports Radio (Toby Rowland, Teddy Lehman, Gabe Ikard, Chris Plank)
Records: Oklahoma (2-0); Nebraska (1-2)
Rankings: Oklahoma ranked No. 6 in AP Top 25; Nebraska unranked
Series History: Oklahoma leads series 46-39-2
Last Meeting: Oklahoma 23, Nebraska 16 (2021)
Favorite: Oklahoma (-11.5)
Fun Fact: Once one of the proudest rivalries in all of college football, this is the last scheduled meeting between the Sooners and Cornhuskers for the foreseeable future.
RB Marcus Major/Eric Gray
The Oklahoma offense was stymied in the first half of their game against Kent State, but made some adjustments at half and came out much more successful in the second half. I expect offensive coordinator Jeff Lebby to establish the run early and often against the Cornhuskers, which means that running backs Eric Gray and Marcus Major will be busy. Don’t be surprised if Major leaves this game as the leading rusher, as he showed some flashes in crunch time last week that has Norman buzzing about what they could have at running back in 2022.
LB Danny Stutsman
If I had to choose one player from this Oklahoma team as the MVP to this point in the year, it would have to be linebacker Danny Stutsman. The true sophomore is coming off his second-career start and he has already tallied 21 tackles, 15 of those being solo stops (7th nationally). The energy that Stutsman plays his position with is contagious and his confidence and game speed seemed to kick it up a notch in Week 2. If he can continue to improve every week, Stutsman could be one of if not the best linebacker in the Big 12 by season’s end.
QB Casey Thompson
Texas transfer Casey Thompson has had an up and down start to 2022 as the junior signal-caller has completed 62/97 for 866 yards and four touchdowns with three interceptions through three games. If Nebraska finds a way to be in this game late into the fourth quarter it will be because Thompson finds a way to replicate what he did against the Sooners in the 2021 Red River Shootout. With a new interim coach and all kinds of question marks, Thompson has the ability to keep Nebraska in this game.
LB Nick Henrich
Sophomore captain Nick Henrich is set to make his return to the football field on Saturday after missing each of the last two games due to injury. Henrich started all 12 games for Nebraska in 2021 and finished the year with 99 tackles, 3.5 TFL’s, and a half sack. Henrich is expected to be a major part of what the Huskers do defensively and his absence was felt over the last two contests. Getting him back will certainly be a boost for the Huskers against OU.
Oklahoma has been impressive defensively in its first two contests of the year, allowing just one touchdown and 16 total points thus far, ranking them eighth nationally in scoring defense. The Sooners also lead the country in tackles for loss (23), are third in sacks (9), and are 46th in total defense, allowing 305.5 yards per game. That is a far-cry from what we’ve grown used to seeing in Norman on that side of the ball, and even more peculiar is that the defense is arguably the strength of Oklahoma’s team at this point in time. OU’s offense game plan has been very conservative to this point, so that is bound to change as they open things up, but expect the Sooners to wreak havoc against a Nebraska offensive line that is allowing 2.33 sacks per game, good for 90th in the country.
Coming into this game, the Nebraska Cornhuskers are one of a handful of FBS teams that have played in three games so far, and what we have seen against the likes of Northwestern, North Dakota, and Georgia Southern, is that Nebraska is awful defensively to this point. The Huskers rank 113th in passing defense (284.7 ypg), 115th in rushing defense (207.3 ypg) and 99th in scoring defense (31 ppg). Simply put, there is ample evidence that Oklahoma should have success early and often against the Huskers, unless they are able to make wholesale changes in the span of a week. With Scott Frost out, and interim head coach Mickey Joseph in, there might be a whole lot of new come Saturday.
Prediction: Oklahoma 38, Nebraska 20
It could be argued that Oklahoma should win this game by 40 points based off of what we’ve seen from each of these teams to this point. However, this being a rivalry game, I see it being a little closer than that. With this game being in Lincoln, the home crowd will keep their team energized and feeling an upset at half time as I expect this to be a competitive game for three quarters, but Oklahoma eventually pulls away in the fourth after a costly turnover by Nebraska turns into points for the Sooners, making this a three-score game.