Courtesy: NU Athletic Communications
Nebraska scored on its opening drive to take a 7-0 lead, but Oklahoma answered with seven touchdowns, as the No. 6 Sooners rolled to a 49-14 victory to spoil the Husker head coaching debut of Mickey Joseph on Saturday at Memorial Stadium.
Nebraska forced a three-and-out to open the game, before racing 77 yards in just six plays capped by Casey Thompson's 32-yard touchdown strike to wide receiver Trey Palmer to put the Huskers up 7-0 just 3:41 into the game.
Quarterback Chubba Purdy also made his Husker debut in the second half, leading Nebraska on a 13-play, 82-yard scoring drive late in the fourth quarter. Purdy closed out the march with his eight-yard touchdown run to produce the final score.
The rest of game between the historic rivals belonged to Oklahoma.
Nebraska managed 327 total yards, including 164 passing and 163 rushing, but the Sooners piled up 580 total yards, including 312 on the ground and 268 through the air.
Thompson completed 14-of-20 passes for 129 yards and a score for Nebraska, while Purdy completed 7-of-11 attempts for 35 yards, but did throw an interception. Palmer was Nebraska's top target, hauling in a career-high 10 receptions for 92 yards and the opening score.
Gabe Ervin Jr. led the NU ground game with 60 yards on seven second-half carries. Ajay Allen added 49 yards on 11 attempts, while Anthony Grant contributed 36 yards on 13 totes. Purdy pitched in 29 yards on five second-half carries for the Big Red.
Oklahoma quarterback Dillon Gabriel connected on 16-of-27 passes for 230 yards and two touchdowns through the air, while adding six carries for 55 yards including a 61-yard touchdown run in the first quarter to tie the score at 7-7.
The defenses then traded stops, before Gabriel and the Sooners took their first lead with 1:57 left in the first quarter. Gabriel put the finishing touches on a seven-play, 63-yard drive with his 25-yard touchdown pass to Jalil Farooq to make it 14-7. Farooq finished the game with three receptions for 58 yards, while Marvin Mims led the Sooner receivers with four catches for 66 yards on the afternoon.
Nebraska's offense was unable to answer OU's second touchdown, and the Sooners scored on a short drive set up by a 34-yard punt return by Mims. Marcus Major put OU up 21-7 just 12 seconds into the second period on a one-yard touchdown run to end a five-play, 23-yard drive that took just 55 seconds.
Major notched his second touchdown, this time on a trick-play, 24-yard reception on a pass from tight end Brayden Willis, to give Oklahoma a 28-7 lead with 11:35 left in the half. Major finished with 35 rushing yards on 12 carries.
About 10 minutes later, OU ended the first-half scoring with 16-yard touchdown run by Eric Gray to close a five-play, 65-yard drive. Gray, who added a touchdown early in the third quarter, led all rushers in the game with 11 carries for 113 yards.
The Sooners rolled up 355 total yards in the first half, despite the Nebraska defense getting three first-half stops.
The Huskers managed 148 total yards in the half, but just 71 after the opening drive. Thompson completed 13-of-18 passes for 108 yards and a score for Nebraska, but was sacked four times. The sack yardage knocked Nebraska's rushing total to just 40 yards on 25 carries in the half, despite 40 yards on nine carries from Allen and 30 yards on 11 totes from Allen.
Nebraska will regroup during a bye week before returning to Big Ten Conference action at Memorial Stadium on Homecoming against Indiana on Saturday, Oct. 1. Television for the evening kickoff (6 or 6:30 p.m. CT) has not been announced.