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Oklahoma vs. Nebraska Prediction: New Chapter for Cornhuskers Begins Against Familiar Foe

Former Big 8 rivals renew acquaintances in Lincoln.

Following the dismissal of Scott Frost as head coach this week, the Nebraska Cornhuskers are taking their football program in a new direction. For interim coach Mickey Joseph, the home game against Oklahoma presents an opportunity to make his case for the permanent position. For Nebraska's players, the matchup gives them a chance to turn around a lackluster 1-2 start to the season that has seen them drop games against the Northwestern Wildcats and Georgia Southern Eagles in the first three weeks.

Related: College Football Predictions for Every Game in Week 3

The seventh-ranked Sooners are enjoying a fast start under Brent Venables. A win in the rookie head coach's first road game would send OU into Big 12 play at 3-0.

Here's what to watch when the former Big 8 foes meet in Lincoln on Saturday afternoon.

No. 7 Oklahoma at Nebraska

Kickoff: Saturday, Sept. 17 at 12 p.m. ET
TV: FOX
Live Stream: fuboTV (Start your free trial)
Spread: Oklahoma -11.5
Tickets: As low as $122 on SITickets.com*

When Oklahoma Has the Ball

The up-tempo OU offense sputtered early in last week's game versus the Kent State Golden Flashes. The Sooners failed to score on their first four drives of the contest before a touchdown pass from quarterback Dillon Gabriel to wide receiver Marvin Mims in the final minute of the second quarter put OU up 7-3 heading into halftime. The Sooners outscored the Golden Flashes 26-0 in the second half, and Mims finished the day with seven receptions for 163 yards and two touchdowns.

Mims and the rest of the OU offense might put up big numbers on Nebraska's beleaguered defense. The Cornhuskers gave up 642 total yards a week ago in a 45-42 loss to Georgia Southern. The Eagles averaged nearly eight yards per rushing attempt for the game and racked up 35 first downs.

When Nebraska Has the Ball

Offense hasn't been an issue for the Cornhuskers this year. Under new offensive coordinator Mark Whipple, they are averaging a healthy 36 points per game through three contests. Texas transfer quarterback Casey Thompson has operated the passing game commendably, averaging 8.9 yards per pass attempt. Whipple would surely like to see his QB cut down on his rate of interceptions after Thompson has thrown three in three games this year.

Venables is rebuilding an OU defense that has allowed just 16 points in the team's first two games. NU's first priority should be containing the Sooners' defensive line. OU currently leads the country in tackles for a loss with 23, the bulk of which have come from a disruptive front four.

Final Analysis

Will the coaching change on the Nebraska sideline give the Cornhuskers new life? If not, the home team could be in for a long day. Frost's greatest failing was his team's record in close games during his tenure, but a similar effort to the ones Nebraska has given so far this year might translate into a blowout loss versus the Sooners.