It was a brutal defensive battle, just like everyone expected.
But in the end, it simply was the OU offense that couldn’t get the job done when it counted against Nebraska’s stingy defense in Saturday night’s 10-3 loss at Nebraska.
And the poor offensive rhythm started right off the bat.
On the Sooners’ first three possessions of the game, they started at midfield or better and managed just eight combined yards on those possessions over 14 plays.
Eventually, Nebraska won some of that field position back and cashed in on it early in the second quarter.
The Huskers struck first for the 7-0 lead when junior quarterback Zac Lee, who started the game on the bench, hit sophomore tight end Ryan Hill for the one-yard touchdown reception following an interception by OU redshirt freshman quarterback Landry Jones.
OU cut the lead to 7-3 when redshirt freshman kicker Tress Way hit a 28-yard field goal, capping off a nine play, 59-yard drive that lasted 3:14.
But that was all the scoring in the first half and the only time the Sooners would score in the contest.
In the third quarter, the defensive struggle continued, but Nebraska extended its lead to 10-3 when junior kicker Alex Henery converted a 28-yard field goal of his own.
Neither team would score again.
But the Sooners had their chances throughout the contest.
Way missed a trio of field goals, including one that was blocked by outstanding NU defensive lineman Ndamukong Suh in the first half.
Aside from that, the Sooners had several more opportunities to either tie or take the lead, had they executed more efficiently.
“I thought it would have been hard for our defense to play a whole lot better,” Ou Head Coach Bob Stoops reported after the game. “Offensively, we moved the ball quite frequently, but then didn't produce points.”
Early in the third, OU marched 28 yards to the Nebraska 43-yard line before OU redshirt freshman quarterback Landry Jones tossed one of his five interceptions, stalling that drive.
And just a minute into the final quarter, Jones threw an interception after OU managed to make it to the Nebraska 39-yard line, squandering yet another opportunity.
Three minutes later, a Sooner drive stalled when three Jones passes fell incomplete from the NU 24.
But perhaps most notably, with 2:30 to go, Jones tossed his fourth interception, which cut short a drive at the NU 33.
OU had one last chance after sophomore wide receiver Ryan Broyles returned a punt 35 yards to the Nebraska 49.
But Jones threw his fifth interception, putting the final nail in the coffin.
“Several of those drives in the second half we felt very positive,” Stoops said.
“We were fairly consistently moving it. We'd just get behind the chains. You've got to credit them, on third or fourth down, we had our opportunity, and they made plays, they covered us or pressured us or whatever it was to get out of it. That's where we needed to be better.”
Surprisingly considering the score, OU outgained the Huskers 325 to 180 and had 23 first downs to only seven for Nebraska.
It is the first time since 1998 that OU has failed to score a touchdown in a game.