Football: No. 6 Sooners Sooners strike early and often
Zach Butler, The Oklahoma Daily
The Sooners scored 28 points within six minutes of kickoff and didn’t look back on the way to a 62-28 rout of rival Nebraska.
The Cornhuskers got off to a dreadful start, with turnovers on three of their first five plays.
The turnovers began with an interception returned for a touchdown by sophomore cornerback Dominique Franks on the ‘Husker’s first play from scrimmage.
Franks successfully read a wide receiver screen and jumped into the passing lane for an easy interception.
“Franks really ignited us by jumping that screen,” head coach Bob Stoops said. “He read it well and anticipated it, he just got in position and made an aggressive play.”
After Nebraska received the ball again, Keenan Clayton forced a fumble and OU responded with a 48-yard strike from sophomore quarterback Sam Bradford to senior wide receiver Quentin Chaney.
This put OU up 21 points, and the blowout didn’t stop there. Nebraska’s senior quarterback Joe Ganz’s pass was deflected and subsequently intercepted by senior safety Lendy Holmes.
Nebraska’s statline at the time: five offensive plays, three passes, three turnovers and 16 total yards.
A quick strike to junior tight end Jermaine Gresham put the Sooners up by 28 points.
“When you get all over someone really quick, and jump on them, it really gets them on their heels,” defensive coordinator Brent Venables said. “It creates momentum, creates points, and gets things a lot more comfortable out the gate.”
Stoops said he couldn’t remember a quarter where his team scored so much in so little time.
“I looked at the clock and I couldn’t believe that was all the time that was gone,” Stoops said. “You know, when you get turnovers and have a short field and making plays, it’s going to happen like that.”
At halftime, the Sooners led 49-14.
Bradford contributed much of the scoring, tossing five touchdowns to four different receivers on the day.
Bradford, who went 19-for-27 for 311 yards, has reached the five touchdown mark four times this season.
“Yeah, he’s protected well and he can step into his throws,” Stoops said. “And he has such accuracy and throws such an easy ball to catch.”
Bradford’s ability to connect with multiple receivers kept the Nebraska defense stumbling all day.
OU recorded 508 yards of total offense — 193 rushing and 315 passing.
Bradford completed passes to eight different receivers, and Chaney led them all with five catches for 128 yards.
The Cornhuskers finished with 418 total yards — including 165 rushing yards from Roy Helu — but turnovers crippled their chances of mounting a successful comeback.
“You know when our defense takes one to the house and gets us a short field it makes our job a whole lot easier,” Bradford said. “And I feel like we have a very good chance of scoring when we touch the ball.”
Kickoff coverage was one area of concern coming into the game, but Stoops said he was pleased with the performance of his special teams.
He said he liked how much OU was getting on their returns and the effectiveness at stopping Nebraska’s returns.
The Huskers returned seven kickoffs on the day for 145 yards for an average of 20.7 yards per return, the Sooners’ best special teams performance since the season opener.
OU’s next game comes this Saturday in College Station, Texas, against Texas A&M, ranked fifth in the Big 12 South.