NORMAN, Okla. — Jason White is good. Nebraska is in trouble. The Big 12 North is a mess.
Not exactly breaking news, but three things that became clearer than ever after three hours of football Saturday night at Oklahoma Memorial Stadium.
White shredded Nebraska's defense in a 30-3 victory before a stadium-record 84,916. With flashbulbs popping nearly every time he threw a pass, Oklahoma's sixth-year senior quarterback was brilliant as the Sooners stayed unbeaten.
Nebraska, meanwhile, had no offensive answer for White and No. 2-ranked Oklahoma. The Huskers crossed midfield just three times and needed a field goal on the last play to avoid being shut out for the first time since 1996.
Now NU has 12 days to think about what's at stake when it plays host to Colorado on Nov. 26.
Nebraska (5-5, 3-4 Big 12) will need to beat CU to become bowl eligible, putting its NCAA-record 35-year bowl streak on the line. It also will need a win over the Buffaloes to avoid a losing regular-season record for the first time since the 1961 team went 3-6-1.
"We've got to go get us a bowl game,'' Husker I-back Cory Ross said. "The history of Nebraska is that we've been going to bowl games every year. We have to do that.''
Still, NU remains one of four teams capable of winning the Big 12 North, although that scenario became more of a long shot with the loss to the Sooners.
The Huskers came to Norman as a long shot, a 30-point underdog, and never really threatened to pull the upset Saturday night. Ross ran for 130 yards on the Sooners, but the Nebraska offense was a plow horse trying to keep up with a sports car.
White, the 2003 Heisman Trophy winner, threw for 383 yards and three touchdowns. He completed a school-record 18 straight passes through the second and third quarters, when Oklahoma outscored NU 27-0.
That made up for freshman tailback Adrian Peterson, OU's other Heisman candidate, getting held to a season-low 58 rushing yards on 15 carries
"The talent is outstanding, skill across the board,'' NU Coach Bill Callahan said of Oklahoma. "See those plays those guys made tonight? Acrobatic catches, speed, athleticism ... they've got it all.''
Oklahoma (10-0, 7-0) celebrated Senior Night by clinching the Big 12 South. Nobody could have enjoyed it more than White, who elected to come back for one more season instead of heading for the National Football League.
"I think it felt good to all the seniors,'' White said. "We all wanted to come out and play hard for one another, and everybody did that.''
White was deadly after Oklahoma came out of the first quarter with just a 3-0 lead. In a 20-point second quarter, he directed an 11-play, 70-yard drive to start it and a nine-play, 83-yard march to end it.
Nebraska's failure to slow him down was a combination of OU receivers finding holes in the NU secondary and the Huskers not generating much of a pass rush.
"He's special,'' Callahan said. "He's been here for nine years or so, something like that. The guy's done a great job.''
Peterson carried just seven times in the first three quarters, staying mostly quiet until breaking a 28-yard run midway through the third. Already ahead 30-0, the Sooners didn't need anything more unless they wanted to pad their BCS resume.
Nebraska decided its best chance offensively was to run directly at Oklahoma. It worked at times, but took the Huskers into OU territory just once in the first half when it mattered most.
"Obviously, it was going to be tough,'' NU tight end Dusty Keiser said. "They're a great team. But we felt we could do some things. We worked hard, we played hard, but they were just the better team today.''
As Oklahoma continued its run at a national championship, it also gave Nebraska a better idea of just how far away it is. To salvage some pride, the Huskers needed a 48-yard run by Steve Kriewald in the final minute to set up David Dyches' 39-yard field goal at :00.
"Obviously, they're a little more talented than we are,'' NU linebacker Barrett Ruud said. "They're beatable, but a little more talented right now.
"The problem with us is we gave up too many big gainers. What you've got to do with that team is really make them earn everything, and there were probably about three or four plays that were 40- or 50-yard plays.''
Nebraska was fighting to stay in it Saturday night when its only turnover switched the momentum for good.
On second down from the NU 35-yard line, quarterback Joe Dailey was intercepted by OU linebacker Gayron Allen, who returned the football to the Huskers' 31. After a 30-yard trick play on a pass from receiver Mark Bradley to Mark Clayton, Kejuan Jones scored to make it 16-0 with 8:03 left before halftime.
Sandwiched around that score were White touchdown passes of 13 yards to Willie Roberts and 4 yards to Brandon Jones, part of a 29-for-35 passing performance.
"As far as taking care of the ball and making good decisions, this is the best stretch that I've had,'' White said. "I've grown up and matured in the system knowing that you shouldn't force something if it's not there.''
It's all there for OU, not so much for Nebraska.
"It'll be pressure on the (Colorado) game,'' NU linebacker Ira Cooper said. "We've got to win the game to be able to go to a bowl game. But everybody feels that we can get it done.''
|Yards per carry||3.2||5.0|
Nebraska is 38-45 all-time against Oklahoma.
|Western Illinois||Sept. 4|
|Southern Miss||Sept. 11|
|Texas Tech||Oct. 9|
|Kansas State||Oct. 23|
|Iowa State||Nov. 6|
Nebraska has played 17 games on Nov. 13. See them all »
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