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The grades: Oklahoma 23, Nebraska 16
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The grades: Oklahoma 23, Nebraska 16

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Nebraska vs. Oklahoma, 9.18

Oklahoma's Mario Williams (4) breaks out of the grasp of Nebraska's Braxton Clark (11) in the second half Saturday in Norman, Okla.

Steven M. Sipple weighs in with his report card from the Huskers' game against Oklahoma.

RUNNING GAME (D)

Nebraska ran 38 times for 95 yards (2.5 yards per carry). That sort of production is not going to lead to many big wins. The running backs began the game with three carries for minus-1 yards. Rahmir Johnson, however, began to find room in the second quarter, although a breakdown up front led to a key 5-yard loss as his team was driving. Gabe Ervin popped a 13-yard run on third-and-12 from the 2-yard line, but he left the game with an injury following a carry late in the third quarter.

PASSING GAME (B)

Adrian Martinez was excellent again, finishing 19-for-25 for 289 yards and a touchdown, with an interception — his first of the season. He was 5-for-6 for 54 yards on Nebraska's opening drive, which resulted in a field goal. Generally speaking, pass protection was only so-so, as he was sacked five times. His interception occurred midway through the fourth quarter when corner D.J. Graham snatched his fourth-down pass out of the air with one hand. 

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AGAINST THE RUN (C)

JoJo Domann came up with a critical stop for a 2-yard loss as Oklahoma was driving in the second quarter. But Oklahoma definitely found a rhythm as the game progressed behind nifty running from Eric Gray and Kennedy Brooks. The Sooners finished with 35 carries for 194 yards (5.5 ypc).

AGAINST THE PASS (B)

Drake Stoops (Bob Stoops' son) came up with two critical receptions — one for 21 yards, the other for 9 — during Oklahoma's third-quarter scoring drive that made it 14-3. Spencer Rattler ended up 24-for-34 for 214 yards and a TD. He was 7-for-8 for 54 yards on OU's opening touchdown drive, which consumed 6:58. He had a key completion of 12 yards on a third-and-11 from Nebraska's 46. But Husker linebacker Luke Reimer had a key pressure as OU moved into NU territory in the second quarter, and Braxton Clark had excellent coverage on a fourth-quarter deep ball. 

SPECIAL TEAMS (D)

This area looked pretty good in the first half. But Connor Culp's miss of a 35-yard field-goal attempt early in the third quarter was a gut punch to the team, as it was trying to pull within one point at 7-6. Later in the third period, Oklahoma blocked an extra point, and Pat Fields returned it the length of the field for two points to make it 16-9. Unreal. Culp's 51-yard field goal on the opening drive was a career-long boot. In the second quarter, he missed on a 50-yard try as the ball glanced off the right upright. Meanwhile, William Przystup boomed a 51-yard punt on his first try of the season and followed with a 50-yarder near the end of the first half. The return game wasn't a disaster.

GAME MANAGEMENT (D)

Nebraska's opening drive was marred by four penalties on four different offensive linemen — three false starts and an unnecessary roughness penalty. The Huskers overcame the mistakes to a certain extent, as Culp made the 51-yard field goal to end the 14-play, 42-yard "march." Deontre Thomas caught a break when his second-quarter unsportsmanlike conduct penalty was basically offset by Rattler's face-mask penalty. But NU center Cam Jurgens' second personal foul flag dragged his team back just as it had moved deep into OU territory. By the game's end, all five starting offensive linemen had at least one false-start penalty. Wonderful.

PLAY-CALLING (A)

Frost and his staff more than held their own against Lincoln Riley, regarded as one of the sport's brightest offensive minds.

OVERALL (B)

Frost said his program is working to get to Oklahoma's level. "I think we showed we're close," he said. Perhaps. But special teams issues and substandard offensive line play are very concerning. Still.

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