What a win! Nebraska's defense proved they don't need a huge offensive effort to come away with a big win. The Huskers had only seven first downs, 39 yards passing, converted one of 14 third downs and had 180 yards of total offense, but came away with five interceptions to stop the Sooners 10-3.
If you're one of those who want to see a Husker team that smashes it's opponents and puts a lot of points on the board, you're going to have to wait at least another season. If you're one that wants to see defense take over and win a game, you're going to be having a lot of fun for the rest of the season.
Over halfway through the season, it seems as if this team has finally accepted who and what it is. The defense recognized the fact that a great offense isn't just going to appear out of mid-air and decided that they'd help out. Prince Amukamara intercepted a pass and returned it to the one. First-and-one at the one??? Hey, this Husker offense can handle that, and they did, scoring on a play-action pass to tight end Ryan Hill. That was all the points that was needed as the defense continues to show why it's the best in the land.
Earlier in the week, our Q&A session indicated that Sooner quarterback Landry Jones would be accustomed to facing a tough defense, having already played against Miami and Texas. Not so fast, my friend!The Huskers only sacked Jones twice, but they harassed him all night. They harassed him straight into five interceptions. Every time it seemed that Oklahoma was about to break the game open, there was a Blackshirt getting their hands on the ball. I loved that part.
The offense did just enough to keep the defense from getting completely exhausted. Roy Helu Jr was magnificent, rushing 20 times for 138 yards. He didn't look injured or hesitant, but was the Helu we saw at the beginning of the season. Cody Green started, but was replaced by Zac Lee on that first-and-one at the one drive. Shawn Watson apparently decided that he didn't need a playmaker behind center, but a game manager. Lee ran the option with more deliberation after Pelini was seen yelling at him for a poorly executed option play in which Lee pitched the ball way too early, resulting in a turnover while the Huskers could have put more points on the board.
Matt O'Hanlon had three interceptions - not bad for a walk-on. He and linebacker Phillip Dillard were everywhere at once. If they weren't destroying the Sooner offense, Ndamukong Suh and Jared Crick were. O'Hanlon is the easy choice as the defensive player of the game until you consider Alex Henery. He started off a little rocky, but then became a field position, Sooner squishing machine all by hisself. Henery routinely punted the Huskers out of trouble an turned the battle of field position against the Sooners. You could say that Henery won the game in the first quarter. Oklahoma had started the game with three consecutive drives on Nebraska's side of the field, coming away with nothing (ha!). The Huskers' field position was horrible until Henery ripped off a 66-yard punt that the Huskers downed at the two-yard line. One big play, and the field position was re-arranged.
The win means that Nebraska controls it's own destiny in the Big 12 North. Win your games, you win the North. It's that simple. With this Blackshirt defense it's certainly within reach.