As Nebraska football takes on Oklahoma Saturday, perhaps the most talented player on the field for both sides will be Oklahoma quarterback Spencer Rattler.
He threw for 28 touchdowns in seven interceptions to go along with 3,031 passing yards in 2020. He is off to a hot start in 2021, as he has recorded six touchdowns and 547 passing yards already.
Just speaking from a college football standpoint, he is one of my favorite players to watch. His dynamic playmaking ability fits well in the Oklahoma offense, and it reminds me of former Sooners quarterbacks in Baker Mayfield and Kyler Murray.
There is no doubt that Rattler will present a challenge to the Nebraska defense, specifically the defensive line. They’re going to be tasked with chasing him around all afternoon, something that could cause them to fatigue rather easily.
In addition to that, they are going to have to worry about his good arm. He averages 10.1 yards per passing attempts, and has the horses at wide receiver to help him put together a good game after good game.
In speaking to the media earlier this week, the Nebraska football defense knows that they are up for a challenge.
“It’s hard not to see him even when we are not preparing for him,” NU senior defensive lineman Ben Stille. “He’s one of the top quarterbacks in the nation. What little we have seen, (he’s) really poised in the pocket. Good runner as well. It will be a challenge for us.”
My two keys to stopping him
To me, there are two ways that Nebraska football will be able to stop him. One way is to run the football. Keep the quarterback and the offense on the sidelines and waste clock. Obviously, I want to see explosive plays as much as the next guy. However, Nebraska needs to focus on playing a measured game. Ideally, they need to be able to keep Rattler on the sidelines as much as possible.
Secondly, they need to put pressure on Rattler. In the couple of Oklahoma games I have watched, he is a little bit more inconsistent when there is pressure in his face. Even though this is not ideal either, Nebraska will have to focus on forcing him to scramble out. Letting him have time in the pocket will allow him to get to Oklahoma’s weapons at wide receiver. If that happens, it could be a long day for the Nebraska football secondary.
No matter what, it will be a challenge for Nebraska football on Saturday. Even still, Spencer Rattler is the engine that makes this Oklahoma program run. All Nebraska has to do is find out how to stop it.