Theo Wease didn’t even look open.
With Oklahoma threatening to score at the Nebraska 15-yard line, the redshirt junior receiver lined up near the left sideline and ran straight up the field. Nebraska cornerback Quinton Newsome tugged on Wease’s outside shoulder and a safety was closing in from the inside.
OU quarterback Dillon Gabriel threw it anyway. And despite taking contact from both defensive backs, Wease hauled in the catch through traffic for the Sooners’ final touchdown in their 49-14 win.
The touchdown didn’t just create further separation between the Sooners and the Cornhuskers. It was also his first score since the Sugar Bowl against Florida on Dec. 30, 2020.
“It felt great, honestly,” Wease said. “... [Gabriel] threw a perfect pass. Honestly, I couldn’t drop it even if I wanted to. He put it right on my chest. I had to make that play.”
Wease finished the game with two receptions for 46 yards and a score. His first reception, a 31-yard gain, helped set up his touchdown.
He has been a welcome addition to the Sooners’ receiver corps after missing nearly all of last season with an injury. Wease is second on the team in receiving yards (120) and tied for second in catches (8) while averaging 15 yards per reception.
The opportunities haven’t been overwhelming for Wease — 10 different players recorded at least one reception against Nebraska — as Gabriel has spread the ball around to different receivers. But Wease hasn’t been too concerned about his involvement.
“When you’re winning, it’s not that hard to do it at all,” Wease said. “I could have zero catches but if we’re winning by 30 points, that’s all that matters at the end of the day.
"Just stay ready for opportunity. However I can help the team win, I’m going to do that.”
Wease wasn’t the only one that found the end zone against Nebraska.
Jalil Farooq caught his first career touchdown against the Cornhuskers on a 25-yard reception in the first quarter, finishing with three catches for 58 yards. It was a big step in the right direction for Farooq, who had just one catch for nine yards in the Sooners’ first two games.
“I was excited because it doesn't seem like it but that was his first career touchdown,” Wease said. “I was just so excited for him because I know that feeling when I scored my first touchdown.”
There was a lot of buzz surrounding the 6-foot-1 sophomore coming into the season. And while the opportunities haven’t been there early, that touchdown was a big moment for him.
“It’s a great feeling,” Farooq said. “I’ve been waiting for this moment almost my whole life. So me being able to get my first touchdown today was a feeling I couldn’t even explain.”
Farooq and Wease may be called upon more frequently this weekend against Kansas State, as the Wildcats are surrendering under 10 points per game this season.
There will be a continued emphasis on spreading the ball around on the perimeter, and OU offensive coordinator credits Wease and Farooq for helping set a foundation of unselfishness.
“I think a bunch of different guys touching the football makes it a lot harder on the guys across the line of scrimmage from us,” Lebby said. “So continuing to spread it and find ways to get guys involved, that’s a huge deal for us and where we want to take this thing and what we want to do. But again [it’s] a credit to Theo, to Jalil. Those guys have been great teammates. And we’ve got a great culture locker room right now and inside the building all because of Coach [Brent Venables] and how he sets the standard and how we operate every single day.
“Unselfish play is a big part of who we are and who we’re going to be and those guys have exemplified that and [I’m] proud of them for it.”