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Nebraska vs Oklahoma: Three Things We Learned

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Did the gutsy yet mistake-filled performance tell us anything about the Huskers?

Nebraska v Oklahoma Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times...

Depending on how you look at Husker football, you could be feeling either of these things on this fine Sunday.

What did I learn yesterday?

I’m starting to believe Scott Frost when he says this team is “close”

We have been hearing for a while that this team is close, that they are about to turn the corner. We’ve been hearing that the culture is getting better, guys are stepping up the accountability. We’ve been hearing it for years, but the results said otherwise.

The Buffalo and Sooner games are starting to make me a believer.

Watching the Huskers go up against Oklahoma tells me that the physicality is greatly improved compared to when Frost got here. The Huskers were not getting outmuscled for the most part. Oklahoma has more athletes, but the disparity wasn’t as great as I thought it would be. I also saw a Husker team that didn’t let the mistakes and misses get in their heads. They moved on and tried to make the next play. That is a sign of improved culture.

I’m not ready to say that this program is fixed, but it is getting closer. Maybe this is as good as it gets under this staff or maybe there is still more there. I don’t know what the future holds, but I am seeing encouraging signs despite the continued mental mistakes.

A platform of accountability and a team culture is something you can build on. I’m tentatively willing to believe in “close” for now.

Believe in the Blackshirts

We figured this Husker team would lean on the defense in 2021. The Blackshirts are a veteran unit and are building on a good 2020. But, this unit is quietly turning into a very good defense. I am not mistaking this team for the Blackshirts of old, but I see a solid group all around. Yes, there were missed tackles and Oklahoma ran the ball pretty well, but the Huskers were also the first team to hold the Sooners under 24 points in nearly 70 games.

I guess what impresses me is that there isn’t anyone that is going to be drafted in the first three rounds of the NFL draft. This defense is better than the sum of its parts. That’s on the coaches as much as the players. If only some of those “almost” interceptions actually were picked...

OU might not be as good as advertised

I usually focus on the Huskers for my three things, but I think this bears watching. OU is the #3 team in the country right now but they have scratched out single digit wins against two teams they should have handled easily. Maybe these are just early season hiccups for the Sooners, but the fact the Huskers kept this game so close may turn out to not be as impressive as think right now.

I hope I’m nervous about something that turns out to be wrong.

Shoutouts

As quarterback, Adrian Martinez gets a lot of criticism and a lot of credit. Yesterday, he earned a whole lot of credit. He made good decisions and he made play after play even when his o-line wasn’t dialed in and special teams led to empty drives. By all accounts, he is a top notch human being and he represents Nebraska well. It is easy to cheer for someone like him, especially when he outduels the preseason frontrunner for the Heisman.

Another shoutout goes to Austin Allen. He took shot after shot and kept making plays. We saw you #11.