Paul Thompson once again showed the heart and poise that has typified the Sooners season, shaking off adversity in leading the Sooners on the 99 yard drive that drove the stake through the Huskers' hearts.
Even though he made the worst quarterbacking decision of his Sooner career, a second-quarter desperation heave that led to Nebraska's only score of the game, Thompson otherwise showed that he deserved the praise that was heaped on him by network announcers all night.
His 66 yard scoring pass to Malcolm Kelly was a thing of beauty and his 35 yard completion to Jermaine Gresham was the clutch play of the season.
Thompson's leadership, especially when Oklahoma was on the short end of field position, came in handy again during tough conditions on the season's biggest stage.
About the best thing that can be said for Oklahoma's running backs is that they didn't fumble.
Alan Patrick ran hard and picked up a key first down late as well as scoring early, while Chris Brown looked tentative on most of his runs. Dane Zaslaw dropped a sure touchdown pass and Brown also whiffed on a screen pass.
Fortunately, the Sooners were able to survive with one of the weakest running efforts in their history.
Malcolm Kelly had a night to remember, setting Big 12 Championship game records for catches and yards receiving. He made several of his trademark catches of balls thrown behind him and made a tremendous catch for his second touchdown of the night. In the cold, Kelly also had a couple of drops that can be forgiven.
Jermaine Gresham made the game's biggest play, hauling in Thompson's third-and-10 pass from the end zone to complete a 35 catch and run to spark the 99-yard TD drive. Manuel Johnson was a key receiver with five catches, three of them accounting for first downs. Juaquin Iglesias and Pooh Tennell also had important catches in the game.
Despite the drops, the receiving corps had an outstanding night given the conditions.
Injuries continued to plague the front line, as both Brandon Walker and Trent Williams missed time during the contest. Although the line provided good protection for Thompson in the passing game, the run blocking was sorely lacking.
Williams struggled before leaving the game with an injury. He could be seen standing behind the Sooners celebration after the game, but a full report on his injury will not be known until Sunday.
With only a 1.5 average on 28 running plays, it's hard to believe the Sooners actually had more time of possession in the game.
Outstanding effort by the defensive front, made even more impressive by the fact that they were being blatantly held on every pass play in the second half.
C.J. Ah You proved his all-Big 12 selection was merited, as he delivered a number of crushing blows to Husker backs and quarterback Zac Taylor. Demarcus Granger over ran one play, but was solid most of the night. Calvin Thibodeaux joined Ah You in recording a sack.
OU's conditioning again was evident, as the pass rush was still strong in the late going, obviously frustrating the Huskers.
For the second week in a row, OU got standout play from all three linebackers. Rufus Alexander delivered some hits that stopped Huskers in their tracks and came up with a fumble that might have given him a chance to score if he had picked it up cleanly.
All told, the linebackers had 17 solo tackles, with Curtis Lofton contributing some key early stops and Zach Latimer playing well. He might have had a second touchdown for the season if he had corralled a pass that Taylor threw right at him.
And Demarrio Pleasant came in late to make a key play to break up a Nebraska pass.
Passing yards don't tell the tale here. Even though Nebraska was credited with 282 yards in the air, Oklahoma frustrated the Huskers passing game and kept them from reaching the end zone in the second half.
Reggie Smith came up with an interception and a fumble recovery on the game's first play that set the tone for the Sooners victory. Nic Harris was a terror on the pass rush and made a beautiful interception in the end zone. And after Marcus Walker had to leave the game briefly with a stinger, long-forgotten D.J. Wolfe stepped up to make an interception as Nebraska tried to go his way.
Time and again, coverage in the OU secondary forced Taylor to hold the ball too long, allowing the pass rush to take its toll. They held the Nebraska quarterback to a 46 completion percentage. He had been averaging over 62 percent on the season.
For one of the few times this season, Oklahoma lost the punting battle. Michael Cohen struggled most of the night and the Sooners were often on the short end of field position.
Part of the problem may have been the snaps, which appeared to be veering off target, throwing off his rhythm.
Garrett Hartley did a good job on kickoffs but was denied a chance to try a 47-yard field goal by a bad snap. It might have been a fake anyway, as it appeared Hartley was running to the side at the snap, but he may have just seen the problem and reacted to get in position to make a play.
Reggie Smith had one excellent kickoff return and one not soon good. He had no return yards on two punts.
OU's kick coverage was solid.
Oklahoma-Nebraska Grade Card
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