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Report Card: Oklahoma Sooners 23, Huskers 16

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A lot of really good...and too much not-good on this week’s report card.

NCAA Football: Nebraska at Oklahoma Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Moral victory? We’re not about moral victories, and Nebraska’s 23-16 loss to Oklahoma is still a loss.

But can we be relieved that it wasn’t nearly as bad as we feared it would be? Maybe.

Should we be frustrated by the mistakes that sabotaged a game Nebraska could have won? Absolutely.

Some fans are exasperated by the mistakes; see the calls on Twitter to see heads roll. Some are encouraged by a sign of progress Both are right, to some extent. Glass half full or half empty? You decide.

For me, I’m leaving the game more encouraged than discouraged. Disappointed? Absolutely. But if you would have told me three weeks ago the Huskers would “only” lose by seven to the Sooners, I’d have thought you were crazy. That’s progress in my eyes.

With that, it’s onto the report card, and as always, your feedback is welcome in the comments.

QB: Some fans gave up on Adrian Martinez a year or two ago; others gave up on him after the Illinois game. I suspect they are starting to come back on board after this game. Martinez came up big with his best game as a Husker. He’s more patient with his reads, he’s more confident in his receivers, and that’s allowing him to be more careful with the ball. No crushing turnovers in this game, and that’s a marked change in his game. Yes, he did throw an interception, but in that situation, that 4th down interception was better than an incompletion. You can see the difference the upgraded receiver corps has made; the only thing holding him back now is the rough play of the offensive line. Grade: A

I-Back: Rahmir Johnson was the surprise starter, in my mind, but the coaches decision wasn’t necessarily wrong. He did look a touch more effective than Gabe Ervin, who suffered a scary looking injury in the second half. The running game is still a mess, and I think that’s in large part due to the offensive line. Grade: D-

WR: Samori Toure took a back seat to Omar Manning and Zavier Betts in this game. Fans have been waiting for Manning to finally show something in a game, and this week, he had two impressive catches. His second for a touchdown might have been the best catch I’ve seen since Maurice Purify in 2006 against A&M. Betts showed his deep speed on his 55 yard catch. Add in solid performances by Austin Allen and Travis Vokolek, and Nebraska’s receiver corp looks more talented than I can ever remember it being, outside of the Kenny Bell/Quincy Enunwa grouping. Grade: A

OL: The tone was set right from the start with false starts on Nebraska’s first two offensive plays. Four offensive line penalties for 30 yards on Nebraska’s opening series; six of Nebraska’s eight penalties in the game were on the line. Nebraska still overcame all of those penalties, thank to Martinez and his receivers. The run blocking was mostly dismal, but despite five sacks, the pass blocking wasn’t quite as bad. I know people are tired of the reason: no seniors, two juniors and a bunch of underclassmen on the two deep, but that’s not an issue that magically clears itself up. Grade: D-

DL: I thought the entire defense played extremely well, though Oklahoma did have the edge up front on the line. Grade: B+

LB: Luke Reimer picked up right where he left off last week, and nearly got another interception. Nick Henrich was all over the place, but the defensive star of the game was JoJo Domann, who led with 12 tackles and nearly had an interception as well. Garrett Nelson caught my eye as well in this game; he’s becoming a bigger contributor as of late. Grade: A

Secondary: Deontai Williams and Quinton Newsome had huge days, but Cam Taylor-Britt is in a funk. Made an incredible play to break up a pass, but otherwise, it was a quiet game. I suspect he’s pressing too hard to make the incredible happen. Overall, an outstanding effort to hold Oklahoma to it’s lowest point total in over five years. Grade: A

Special Teams: We all know the horrible: two missed field goals (one rather long) and the blocked extra point that became two points for the Sooners. There was a not-so-good: a kickoff that came up short of the goal line, and was returned to the 35. Rahmir Johnson fielded a kickoff at the goal line and rather than take the fair catch, returned it for 12 measily yards. There was the weird: Brendan Franke’s shanked kickoff was fielded just before it went out of bounds at the Oklahoma eight yard line. But there was some good: William Przystup replaced an ailing Daniel Cerni and boomed punts of 48 and 52 yards. Grade: F

Overall: B The Huskers battled the Sooners better than anybody anticipated. Efforts like that will lead to at least five or six more wins the rest of the season. (Let’s be honest, even Ohio State is looking mortal this season.) But there aren’t any gimmes on the rest of the schedule either, other than possibly Northwestern, who possesses their own brand of Kryptonite for the Big Red.

Poll

How would you grade the Huskers for their 23-16 loss to the Sooners?

This poll is closed

  • 6%
    A - Almost pulled off an upset
    (50 votes)
  • 43%
    B - Solid game, but a few too many mistakes
    (333 votes)
  • 35%
    C - Could have won, but shot ourselves in the foot.
    (270 votes)
  • 10%
    D - Disappointed by all of the issues on the offensive line and special teams.
    (84 votes)
  • 4%
    F - Failed to win; it’s an either-or question.
    (34 votes)
771 votes total Vote Now

Elsewhere in College Football

Colorado: 0 According to the Ralphie Report, the Puffaloes have only 94 yards of offense over the last six quarters, and have been shut out the last 107 minutes of game time.

Even this Lambeau Leap by the Puffs didn’t go well, because he tried it into seats that typically are only occupied by Nebraska fans.

Michigan: A The best team in the Big Ten looks to be in Ann Arbor.

Michigan State: A The Spartans aren’t far behind, and could arguably be the second best.

Ohio State: D+ Tulsa might be the best 0-3 team in college football (losses to Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Ohio State), but the Buckeyes have some defensive issues.