Oklahoma-Nebraska Grade Card

Sophomore running back Adrian Peterson rushed for 146 yards and two touchdowns as Oklahoma won in Lincoln for the first time since 1987 with a 31-24 win over the Huskers on Saturday. See inside for Tony Sellars' position-by-position breakdown. (AP Photo/Dave Weaver)


The big stat in this one for Rhett Bomar – no turnovers.

He was sporadic in the passing game, but made some big throws in key situations. For the Sooners to protect big leads in the middle of the game, though, he needs to improve on his completion percentage. Once again, Bomar was just 50 percent for the game, well below what is expected in college football today. He has quickly built a relationship with Malcolm Kelly, who caught eight of Bomar's 14 completions. In fact, Travis Wilson was the only other wide receiver to catch a pass in the game.

Bomar also made some key runs and protected the football for the most part. He did fumble early in the third quarter and managed to get it back. His pitch on the option late in the game was off the mark, but the play was eventually of no consequence since the Sooner defense held Nebraska in check.

Overall, Bomar again showed confidence and poise throughout the game for the second consecutive week. Leading his team to a victory in the most hostile road environment they have faced shows the presence he has on the field.

More improvement again this week, but still more improvement to go. Winning on the road ups his grade a bit.

Grade: A-

Running Backs

It looks like all Adrian Peterson needed was a complete week off. Setting the tone early with his 39-yard touchdown run, Peterson displayed his power against the Huskers and showed he is still a game-breaking back.

Kejuan Jones returned from his one week suspension with vigor, providing adequate rest for Peterson and getting a 17-yard touchdown run. He also went 22 yards on a key screen pass. Probably his most sold performance of the year.

Jacob Gutierrez got only one carry before being injured on the punt coverage team. Initial reports indicate he might be out for several weeks. J.D. Runnels spent most of the game opening holes for Peterson, but did manage to catch a couple of passes for eight yards.

Nothing to complain about here.

Grade: A

Offensive Line

When Peterson isn't getting hit in the backfield, then you know it's going to be a good day. The offensive line didn't let that to happen often against the Huskers and they also protected Bomar well, allowing just one sack.

Even after the injury to Chris Bush in the second half, there were no problems. Jon Cooper came in and played well in his place. It's a good thing he has been able to get some experience in the past few weeks, because early reports indicate Bush's arm injury might sideline him for several games.

The Sooners had almost perfect offensive balance - 170 yards passing, 179 running. What was once the weakest link on this team has performed well in the past two weeks, so it's natural that they get their best grade of the year.

Grade: A -

Wide Receivers

Kelly has suddenly become the "go-to" guy for the Sooners, racking up as many catches today as he had compiled in the first seven games combined. In this contest, he not only displayed great hands but also showed strength in fighting for extra yards.

Travis Wilson is still slowed by the ankle injury that kept him out for two games, but he managed to make several key catches to keep drives alive.

Other than that, the receivers were non-existent. Juaquin Iglesias did pick up nine yards on a reverse, but may have cut off a pass route early in the first half that produced an errant throw by Bomar.

The tight end was not involved in the passing game at all on Saturday.

Grade : B

Defensive Line

It's hard to quibble with the defensive front in this one. Four of the nine sacks recorded by the Sooners came from the front four and they help hold the Huskers to just 16 met yards rushing. Overall, the defensive line contributed seven tackles for losses in the contest.

Both Calvin Thibodeaux and Dusty Dvoracek were in the Huskers backfield all day long, with Dvoracek also picking up an interception. Cory Bennett added a pass deflection and Alan Davis got a late sack as well.

No one is going to run on this group all year and the pass rush keeps improving.

Grade: A


Rufus Alexander had another great game, with 11 unassisted tackles including three sacks for 25 yards in losses. He also forced a fumble. Clint Ingram and Zach Latimer also got in on the sack attack, recording one each, and Ingram could have had another interception but dropped one right in his hands.

The linebackers possibly could have provided more pass coverage support in the second half, but their primary duty today was rush the passer and stop the run.

A solid game overall

Grade: A-

Defensive Backs

This was a tale of two halves as far as the secondary was concerned. They did an excellent job in the first half, putting several hard hits on Huskers' receivers and getting a touchdown from Chijioke Onyenegetcha. In fact, he should have had two.

But in the second half, the Sooners reverted to the soft coverage that had plagued them throughout the season. Reggie Smith got completely fooled on a halfback pass for a touchdown and the Sooners were lucky that Zac Taylor overthrew several open receivers deep.

D.J. Wolfe broke up several passes and made some hard hits, but also made some mistakes of inexperience. Marcus Walker was picked on for consecutive pass completions in the second half and was subsequently benched. And Onyenegetcha also showed the maddening inconsistency that has led him to lose a starting spot.

It appeared they were on their way to a complete shutdown after one half. In the end, the Sooners were fortunately to escape with the victory.

Grade: C

Special Teams

For the second week in a row, a Jekyll and Hyde performance by the Sooners special teams.

Garrett Hartley missed a 44-yard field goal with the wind, then had one blocked when the Sooners were apparently supposed to be running a fake. He reversed his day in the second half with a 50-yard effort early in the third quarter and a beautiful first-down run on the fourth quarter fake punt setting up the Sooners game-winning touchdown. Hartley also made a key tackle after another Sooner breakdown on kickoff coverage.

Cody Freeby spent most of his day punting into the wind. He did outkick the coverage into the wind, with a 56-yard punt that was returned 20 yards in the first half. Freeby also had a key mistake, fumbling a perfect center snap on a field goal try that erased a possible three-pointer by Hartley in the third quarter.

Jejuan Rankins seemed indecisive on his first-half punt returns, preventing him from racking up big yardage on a couple of returns. Lendy Holmes took over in the second half, and almost made another costly mistake, but managed to recover his own fumble.

The good managed to outweigh the bad – just barely.

Grade: C

Sooners Illustrated Top Stories