Anticipation for the start of the Brent Venables era on September 3 against UTEP is beginning to reach a fever pitch. When the Sooners run out of the tunnel to take on the Miners, Gaylord Family Oklahoma Memorial Stadium will be buzzing.
Currently, the Sooners are heavy favorites for Venables’ first game as the Oklahoma Sooners head coach. But that one doesn’t seem like it should be much of a litmus test for the 2022 Sooners. Nor will Kent State.
There’s little doubt the Oklahoma Sooners will start the season 2-0 with matchups against UTEP and Kent State to start the season. Week three, however, is a different story.
That road trip to Lincoln to take on the Nebraska Cornhuskers will likely be the Sooners’ first test of the 2022 season and the Venables era.
The former Big 8 and Big 12 rival is expected to be an improved team after playing so many close games in 2022. David Kenyon of Bleacher Report looked at the earliest test for each contender and points to Nebraska as the first true test for the Sooners. And that Casey Thompson could be the difference.
And more importantly, the Huskers have Casey Thompson. The transfer from Texas is expected to start for Nebraska, and he brings some serious experience to Scott Frost’s offense. Thompson threw for 388 yards and five touchdowns against the Sooners in 2021. – Kenyon, Bleacher Report
Casey Thompson does provide an upgrade at quarterback for the Nebraska Cornhuskers. At the same time, he doesn’t have the same skill position players that he had at Texas in Bijan Robinson and Xavier Worthy.
The Nebraska crowd is going to be fired up to welcome the Oklahoma Sooners to Lincoln. It will provide a difficult road environment for Dillon Gabriel and the Sooners’ offense as they try to communicate their fast-paced offense. But this is where his experience pays off. He’s played on the road in big environments against teams like Pitt and Louisville. Perhaps not as hostile as the one they’ll face at Nebraska, that experience will serve him well.
How the Oklahoma Sooners respond to the environment in Lincoln will be a key factor in the outcome. If they can get their offense rolling and score early, or the defense can create some big plays, it could take the energy out of the stadium.
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