The Redprint: Beat down In ‘Braska

The road warriors made a return to the hallowed grounds of Memorial Stadium in Lincoln, Nebraska for the first time since 2009 for the 88th edition of the Battle Of The Big Reds, and boy was it an incredible welcome back.

Many, including myself, considered this a trap game, but let’s just say we were all far from right. Under former head coach Scott Frost, the Huskers had a rep for keeping it close until the clock hit zero. Under new interim head coach Mickey Joseph, many thought the Huskers would come out with some new juice. That wasn’t the case today. Maybe for the first 4 minutes, but after that, ballgame. The good guys walked away comfortably with a 49-14 victory in the house that Osborne built.

Following Nebraska’s first touchdown drive, the Sooners scored on the next 7 of 9 offensive possessions in the game. Dillon Gabriel set the tone with a 61-yard draw up the sideline for the Sooners’s first score of the contest, and the rest was history. My number one key to the game this morning was “R.T.D.B”, and the return of Wanya Morris gave the offensive line some much needed juice to make that happen, as the Sooners ground game went for 312 yards and 54 carries. Eric Gray finished a day at the office with 113 yards and 2 TDs, while Marcus Major added on 36 yards, with a touchdown through the air and on the ground. Freshman Jovantae Barnes didn’t get an invite to the end zone party, but he finished with 13 carries and 77 yards.

Ray Bahner/OUDaily

Physical, detail oriented defense is back in Norman.

I understand it was little ol’ Nebraska, but you can’t underestimate that offense. The lack of attention to detail with this unit is now a thing of the past. The OU D forced the Huskers to punt or turn the ball over on downs on 12 straight possessions after their first drive of the game. The unit collectively finished with 4 sacks, 2 turnovers, and 9 tackles for loss. On 76 plays, the Nebraska offense finished with 327 total yards. Standout games from Frosh. LB Jaren Kanak and DB Billy Bowman propelled the Sooners to victory.

OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE GAME

  • RB Eric Gray

Final stats for Gray from Lincoln:

  • 11 carries
  • 113 yards
  • 2 Touchdowns
  • 10.3 yards per carry
  • Grade: A-

Gray, without question, played his best game as a Sooner today. For the past week, many have wondered if he was the true RB1 for this team and although that question may still remain unanswered, he showed up in a huge way tonight. Gray just so happened to make a man smell grass on one of his 2 touchdown carries.

DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE GAME

  • LB Jaren Kanak

Final Stats:

  • 10 tackles
  • 1 Fumble Forced
  • Grade: B

There truly isn’t enough words in the english dictionary to describe how excited I am to see this guy reach his full potential. Another reason why? This quote from Brent Venables.

“He’s just learning how to play linebacker. He has no idea what he’s doing yet

The “Kaniak” stepped up in a huge way, after DaShaun White was ejected for targeting in the 2nd quarter. His tackling is something that can improve, but his speed and quickness were a thing to behold. I said it last week, and i’ll say it again: Kanak is going to see the field A LOT more as the season ramps on.

OVERALL TEAM GRADE: A-

Ray Bahner/OUDaily

The start was far from pretty but as time went on, it ended up being one of the more complete games a Sooner squad has played in a while.

Jalen’s Pregame Keys To The Game:

  • Run The Ball !!!! – 3
  • Secondary: Let Em’ Hang – 2
  • Must Win In The Trenches Offensively – 3

Blake’s Pregame Keys To The Game:

  • Start Quick – 2
  • Feed Marvins Mims early and often – 2
  • Contain (Casey) Thompson – 3

Grading Scale:

  • 1 = Failure
  • 2 = Slight Success
  • 3 = Achieved

UP NEXT: At home vs. Kansas St. (2-1)

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