Instant takes: Oklahoma 23, Nebraska 16

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Here are some instant takes from Nebraska’s near upset of No. 3 Oklahoma as they fell 23-16.

The Huskers could have beat the No. 3 team in the country

Nebraska, as we’ve seen way too much in the Frost era, beat themselves on special teams and with 76-yards of penalties.

This coaching staff should use this as momentum. If the Huskers could eliminate those mistakes, they could have knocked off the No. 3 team in the country. Despite the errors, they were in the game.

Even though Nebraska repeatedly shot themselves in the foot, the Huskers were one touchdown away from tying Oklahoma. They were in this game until the very end.

There are no moral victories, but if there were, this one would take the cake.

The best defense half of football in the Scott Frost era. 

Nebraska’s first half against Oklahoma could be the best defensive halves of football in the Scott Frost era. The first half of the 2018 Ohio State game is also at the top, where they led 21-16 at halftime.

However, Nebraska’s defense held Oklahoma to one touchdown coming on the opening drive compared to the then-ranked No. 3 Buckeye’s putting up 16 points in 2018.

After OU quarterback Spencer Rattler went 7-for-8 for 54 yards in the first drive of the game, he went 6-for-11 on the rest of the half. Nebraska got their hands on two of Rattler’s passes but didn’t come down with an interception.

One pass on the first drive caused an OU receiver to defend against NU linebacker Luke Reimer and linebacker JoJo Domann broke up a pass towards the end of the first quarter but couldn’t secure the ball.

The Huskers’ defense put a lot of pressure on Rattler and forced him to make risky decisions. The Blackshirts came up big in essential moments.

During Oklahoma’s first drive of the second quarter, Domann tackled Eric Gray for a loss of two yards on second down. On the next play, Reimer blitzed Rattler, causing him to throw an incomplete pass to force 4th down and 6. OU missed a 54-yard field goal attempt.

Nebraska held the No. 3 team to 95 rushing yards and 105 receiving yards and a long play of 23 yards.

The defense pulled through in the second half and gave the offense a shot to tie the game. Defensive lineman Ben Stille tackled a receiver Jeremiah Hall for a loss of one, forcing an Oklahoma punt with 57 seconds remaining.

Nebraska’s offense couldn’t pull it off but, its defense put them in a position to win the game.

Quarterback Adrian Martinez carried the team

Martinez deserves to be extremely frustrated after this game.

His offensive line had back-to-back false starts on Nebraska’s first two plays. They started with a 1st and 20 situation which he overcome with a 31-yard pass to Omar Manning.

Left tackle Turner Corcoran was flagged for a false start later in the same drive and Martinez responded with an 8-yard pass to Rahmir Johnson. Finally, center Cam Jurgens was called for unnecessary roughness, a 15-yard penalty that Martinez couldn’t overcome.

Kicker Connor Culp made the 51-yard field goal attempt, his only of the game. After Martinez and the offense fought for every inch to get into field goal range, Culp missed a 50-yarder and a 35-yard field goal. Nebraska could have led 9-7 in the third quarter if Culp connected each field goal.

Nebraska finally scored a touchdown despite another unnecessary roughness call on Jurgens and a false start on right guard Matt Sitcherman. Martinez to get a first down after the penalties. He had a beautiful 38-yard pass to Travis Vokolek. Kicker Kelen Meyer, who is listed as a kick-off specialist, had the extra point blocked and Oklahoma’s Patrick Fields ran it all the way back for two points.

In the fourth quarter, Martinez marched NU down the field in three plays after getting great field position and had a 21-yard pass to Omar Manning in the endzone, 24-16 Sooners with 5:38 left.

The quarterback went 19-of-25 for 289 passing yards, one passing touchdown and one interception, where OU’s D.J. Graham had an incredible extending catch. Martinez ran for 34 yards on 17 attempts and had one rushing touchdown.

Martinez played well enough to win this game despite the 50 yards of penalties from the offensive line and special teams missing seven points.

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