Nebraska’s first game without Scott Frost started out perfectly. And then it turned into a disaster.
The Cornhuskers gave up 49 consecutive points to Oklahoma on the way to a 49-14 loss to the Sooners on Saturday in interim coach Mickey Joseph’s first game. Nebraska was overwhelmed in every facet of the game and somehow looked worse than it did in the 45-42 loss to Georgia Southern that led to Frost’s firing.
Nebraska stopped Oklahoma from getting a first down on the first possession of the game and immediately drove down the field and scored as Casey Thompson hit Trey Palmer for a 32-yard TD. In the minutes after that throw it seemed easy to see how Nebraska was going to rebound without Frost on the sidelines.
Those minutes might have been more like seconds. Oklahoma tied the game on a 61-yard TD by Dillon Gabriel on its next drive and never looked back after that. The Sooners led 35-7 at halftime and put the game out of reach before the third quarter was halfway over.
The Nebraska defense looked hapless again as OU carved it up both through the air and on the ground. The offensive line was overwhelmed as well — Nebraska couldn’t get a run game going before it got out of hand and Thompson was sacked three times on third down in the first half alone.
The Huskers officially waved the white flag after Oklahoma went up by 42 in the third quarter when third-string QB Chubba Purdy replaced Thompson under center.
The loss drops Nebraska to 1-3 and is certainly demoralizing. Especially after Nebraska paid $8 million more to fire Frost on Sunday than it would have after September ended thanks to a clause in his contract. The decision to move on from the former Nebraska quarterback just three games into the season was clearly done as a way to attempt to salvage the season at the cost of an increased buyout.
And it’s worth pointing out that the Huskers have a manageable Big Ten schedule with just one ranked opponent (Michigan) remaining. A bowl game may be farfetched but is still not out of the question — especially given the depressed state of the bottom of the Big Ten — but a winning season is probably too much to ask at this point. Especially as Nebraska has lost to all three of the FBS opponents it has played so far.
Oklahoma looks great ahead of huge game
The Sooners, meanwhile, got the benefit of resting key players for much of the second half before a potential Big 12 title game preview against Kansas State in Week 4.
Gabriel finished the game 16-of-27 for 230 yards and had three total touchdowns. Brayden Willis also threw a TD on a trick play and running backs Eric Gray and Marcus Major each had two touchdowns.
The Sooners entered the season as the favorite in the Big 12 once again despite the coaching transition from Lincoln Riley to Brent Venables and Gabriel coming in from UCF. And it's easy to see why OU was a preseason favorite after Saturday's performance, especially on defense. Venables' impact on that side of the ball is readily apparent and could go a long way to getting OU back to the Big 12 title game after a rare year on the sidelines in 2021.