Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#125 Nebraska vs.
#126 Oklahoma
Saturday, September 18, 2021 at 12:00pm EDT
Written by Chris Kubala

A pair of former Big Eight rivals take the gridiron in a non-conference matchup when the Big Ten tangles with the Big 12 in the Sooner State. The Nebraska Cornhuskers are on the road as they make the trip to face the #3 Oklahoma Sooners Saturday afternoon. Nebraska defeated Buffalo 28-3 at home last Saturday in their most recent contest. Oklahoma trounced Western Carolina 76-0 at home last Saturday in their latest action. In the all-time series between the teams, the Sooners own a 45-38-3 advantage, including a 23-20 win in the Big 12 Championship Game in the most recent meeting back on December 4, 2010.

Nebraska Cornhuskers Seeking Third Straight Win

Nebraska earned their second straight win as they took down Buffalo at home in their last game, giving them back-to-back wins for the first time in nearly two years. The Cornhuskers now go on the road to face a top-five opponent, not to mention a long-time former rival, in this contest. Nebraska used quick strikes to get their points on the board as none of their four touchdown drives took longer than 1:44, in fact, the other three drives took less than a minute. The Cornhuskers rolled up a 516-359 advantage in total offense with both teams finishing with 19 first downs. Nebraska lost the time of possession 31:46 to 28:14 with each team turning the ball over once.

On the season, the Cornhuskers are 37th in the nation in passing offense with 277.3 yards per game while they are 21st in the nation with 216.3 yards per contest when it comes to rushing offense. Nebraska is 51st in the FBS in scoring offense with 34 points per game while they are 28th in scoring defense by holding opposing teams to 13.3 points per contest. Adrian Martinez continues to be a force as a dual-threat quarterback. He has completed 46 of 74 passes for 728 yards with four touchdowns and no interceptions. Martinez also leads the team on the ground with 34 carries for 256 yards and three scores. Logan Smothers is five of eight for 104 yards while adding 38 yards on the ground. Markese Stepp (30 carries, 128 yards, TD), Gabe Ervin Jr. (22 carries, 89 yards, two TD) and Sevion Morrison (17 carries, 55 yards, two TD) are all sharing the load in the ground game. Samori Toure leads the team with 13 receptions for 306 yards plus two scores. Austin Allen (seven grabs, 92 yards), Oliver Martin (six catches, 103 yards, TD) and Omar Manning (five receptions, 80 yards) are the only other players with at least five catches. Connor Culp has struggled in the kicking game, hitting 12 of 14 extra-point attempts and two of five field-goal attempts with a long of 39 this season.

Nebraska is going to have to find a way to move the ball on the ground against an Oklahoma defense that has been stout so far this year. The Sooners give up only 77.5 yards per game and 2.6 yards per carry on the ground this season. Oklahoma has also recovered five fumbles in two games this season, which means that Martinez and company have to ensure that they protect the ball.

Oklahoma Sooners Look to Remain Unbeaten

Oklahoma shook off a shaky performance in their season-opening win over Tulane by dismantling Western Carolina at home last week. The Sooners now get a crack at a former conference rival as they look to run their mark to a perfect 3-0 on the season. Oklahoma was never challenged by Western Carolina, burying the Catamounts as they led 17-0 after the opening quarter and 45-0 by halftime before cruising the rest of the way. The Sooners piled up a commanding 624-178 edge in total offense, rolled up a 32-11 edge in first downs and controlled the time of possession by a 32:59 to 27:01 margin. Oklahoma forced three turnovers while not committing one in the contest.

This season, Oklahoma stands 17th in the nation in passing offense with an average of 330.5 yards per game while they are 44th in rushing offense with 196.5 yards per contest. The Sooners are second in the FBS in scoring offense by piling up 58 points per game while they are 45th in scoring defense by allowing 17.5 points per contest. Spencer Rattler has hit on 50 of 65 passes for 547 yards with six touchdown passes against two interceptions while adding 36 yards plus a score on the ground. Caleb Williams is five of 10 for 84 yards plus 61 rushing yards along with a score while Ralph Rucker (two of two, 20 yards) and Mario Williams (one for one, 10 yards) have had chances to sling the ball as well. On the ground, Kennedy Brooks leads the team with 20 carries for 135 yards and two scores while splitting time with Eric Gray (18 carries, 101 yards) in the backfield. Williams has a team-leading 10 catches for 86 yards plus two scores. Jadon Haselwood (eight grabs, 66 yards, two TD), Marvin Mims (six catches, team-high 136 yards), Michael Woods II (six receptions, 44 yards, TD) and Austin Stogner (five grabs, 57 yards) are all solid options as well. Gabe Brkic has hit all 10 extra-point attempts and five of six field-goal attempts with a long of 56. Zach Schmit has hit all four extra-point tries while he hit his lone field goal attempt from 46 yards.

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Nebraska is going to have their work cut out for them on the defensive side of the ball here. While the Cornhuskers have allowed only 182 yards per game through the air and three passing scores on the season, facing a Sooners’ attack that has racked up an average of 530 yards of total offense and 116 points in two games is going to test the Cornhuskers. The last thing Nebraska wants is to have to try and match scores with Oklahoma, especially on the road. Rattler was sharp against Western Carolina and the team cleaned up the missteps that nearly allowed Tulane to steal the opener. The Sooners are too loaded offensively to be slowed down by Nebraska. Look for the Sooners to prevail here and run their record to 3-0.

Prediction: Oklahoma Sooners -22

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Let’s be honest here: Nebraska is averaging 34 points per game but more than half their points came in a win over a FCS program in Fordham. The Cornhuskers scored 22 points against Illinois though that number was bumped up by a late score that turned that game into a push. Last week, they scored 28 against a MAC team in Buffalo that saw a flurry of transfers after Lance Leipold took the job at Kansas. Oklahoma is far more dangerous on both sides of the ball than anyone Nebraska has faced as of yet. Both the Sooners’ games have gone over the mark and I can see Oklahoma putting a 40-burger on the board here to help this one end up past the mark. After all, if Illinois could put up 30 on the Cornhuskers, how are they going to slow down the Sooners?

Prediction: Over 61.5

Written By Chris Kubala , "Chris Kubala"

Chris Kubala has been immersed in the world of professional and collegiate sports for more than three decades. Whether it's playing pickup games or being involved in organized sports to being a fan, he's checked all the boxes. From the NFL to arena football, the NHL to the KHL, the NBA to the WNBA to college hoops, and even MLB to the KBO.  If it's out there, he's covered it and bet on it as well. as Chris has been an expert bettor in his career.  Before joining Winners and Whiners back in 2015, his work appeared around the internet and in print. He's written books for Ruckus Books about college basketball, the NBA, NFL, MLB, NHL, golf, and the World Cup. If you're looking for the inside track on hitting a winner, do yourself a favor and read what Chris has to say.