OU vs. Nebraska football: Five takeaways from the Sooners' rout of Cornhuskers

LINCOLN, Neb. — There are still plenty of questions surrounding Brent Venables’ first OU football team.

But the Sooners whipped up on Nebraska, 49-14, on Saturday at Memorial Stadium.

Here are five takeaways from OU’s victory:

More:OU football earns largest margin of victory over Nebraska since 1990 & more stats

Sep 17, 2022; Lincoln, Nebraska, USA;  Oklahoma Sooners quarterback Dillon Gabriel (8) runs for a touchdown past Nebraska Cornhuskers linebacker Isaac Gifford (23) during the first quarter at Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 17, 2022; Lincoln, Nebraska, USA; Oklahoma Sooners quarterback Dillon Gabriel (8) runs for a touchdown past Nebraska Cornhuskers linebacker Isaac Gifford (23) during the first quarter at Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Dillon Gabriel, OU offense still have questions

OU’s offense awakened after another rough start.

After punting on the game’s first drive, the Sooners scored touchdowns on six of their next eight drives.

But not everything was coming up roses for OU.

Quarterback Dillon Gabriel went just 11 of 20 in the first half, often missing his target.

But even on his misses, Gabriel didn’t much give Nebraska a chance to turn those mistakes into turnovers.

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That made a big difference, as even without their best stuff behind center, the OU offense was plenty productive.

Gabriel finished 16 of 27 for 230 yards and two touchdowns.

Still, though, it was the most points the Sooners have ever scored at Nebraska. The previous high mark was 48 in a shutout victory in 1949. It was just OU’s seventh time beating Nebraska by 20 or more points in Lincoln.

OU ultimately outgained Nebraska 580-327, rushing for 312 yards. Eric Gray rushed for 113 yards and two touchdowns on 11 carries.

The Sooners converted 10 of 16 third downs.

Tramel: We know Nebraska football isn’t good. The OU Sooners? Maybe they are quite good.

DaShaun White ejected, Jaren Kanak comes up big

OU “cheetah” DaShaun White had a strong start, leading the Sooners with six tackles early, one of those being a sack.

He also broke up a pass.

But late in the second quarter, White rushed in at Nebraska quarterback Casey Thompson and caught Thompson with helmet-to-helmet contact as Thompson threw.

White was called for roughing the passer and targeting, which was upheld upon review, leading to his ejection.

The disqualification opened the way for freshman Jaren Kanak, who came on in White’s place.

Kanak got a tackle on the second play after White’s ejection. On the next play, he had his sights on Thompson in the backfield, but Thompson ducked the tackle. It didn’t matter much, as Ethan Downs was right behind Kanak and finished off the sack.

On the first play of the third quarter, Thompson hit Trey Palmer for a 21-yard gain but Kanak stripped and recovered the ball.

Kanak ultimately led the Sooners with 10 tackles after totaling seven in his first two games.

OU football report card: Sooners' game plan is spot on in demolishing Nebraska

Defense comes through vs. Casey Thompson, Huskers

Last season at Texas, Casey Thompson made life difficult on the Sooners before OU completed the comeback.

There was no such heroics from Thompson after the opening drive Saturday.

OU turned up the pressure on Thompson, constantly leaving him scrambling around.

The Sooners had four sacks in the win.

Thompson finished 14 of 20 but for just 129 yards and one touchdown.

The Cornhuskers didn’t get on the board for the second time until backup quarterback Chubba Purdy — the younger brother of former Iowa State star quarterback Brock Purdy — ran in for an 8-yard touchdown.

More:Why OU football's win at Nebraska in 1972 was 'like a volcano exploding' for Sooners

Wanya Morris makes season debut

Wanya Morris didn’t start at tackle for the Sooners, but it didn’t take long to make his season debut.

Morris came on on OU’s third drive, making his season debut after missing the first two games for off-the-field reasons.

Morris slid in at right tackle, taking Tyler Guyton’s spot, though Guyton continued to play at times.

Key Lawrence, who missed last week’s game against Kent State, returned to action while freshman wide receiver Nic Anderson dressed out for the first time.

Tramel: Hollywood script has former OU quarterback Charles Thompson's son leading Nebraska

Turnover streak ends

The Sooners went two-and-a-half games without a turnover before the streak finally came to an end.

Late in the third quarter, backup quarterback Davis Beville fumbled as he tried to hand off the ball, and Nebraska’s Garrett Nelson fell on it.

The Sooners had not gone without a turnover in their first two games since at least 1936.

Through three games, OU is plus-5 on turnover margin after forcing two Nebraska turnovers.

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This article originally appeared on Oklahoman: Oklahoma vs. Nebraska football: Eric Gray, Sooners beat Cornhuskers