NORMAN, Okla. — The sport of the last decade turned out to be fact in promoting right here on Thanksgiving Day.
For a month or extra, the nation’s collegiate soccer followers had anticipated the assembly of Nebraska, the nation’s No. 1 staff, and Oklahoma, the nation’s No. 2 staff.
And the stage was set when the Cornhuskers received their first 10 video games, stretching their profitable streak to twenty and their unbeaten streak to 29 video games.
The Sooners additionally complied, profitable their first 9 video games of the season. Neither staff had had an in depth recreation.
A document, partisan crowd of 63,385 at OU’s famed Owen Subject and a nationwide tv viewers what finally became an offensive duel and a 35-31 Nebraska victory.
However the Cornhuskers needed to rating with just one:38 remaining within the hard-hitting, thrilling contest earlier than profitable what is going to most likely be their second straight legendary nationwide title.
One other Loop Title
It appeared incidental in addition they received the Massive Eight Convention championship, their seventh to win or share within the final 10 years. Oklahoma received or shared three others.
Though the sport apparently was received within the closing minutes, probably the most vital single play could have come within the first 5 minutes of motion.
That is when Cornhusker All-American slotback Johnny Rodgers returned a punt 72 yards for a landing and a 7-0 Nebraska lead with 11:28 left within the first quarter.
Many coaches imagine the actually massive video games are most of the time, determined within the kicking recreation.
The play was inconsistent with what occurred in the remainder of the sport. Neither staff got here up with a serious play within the kicking recreation.
However it was not inconsistent with performances by Rodgers, a 171-pound junior who places worry into the guts of any opposition coach when he has the soccer.
Rodgers has averaged 17.5 yards a return on punts this season and his 542 yards on punt returns is a Massive Eight document for one season.
It appeared that Rodgers was stopped when he acquired the excessive punt on the Nebraska 28-yard line.
OU’s Greg Pruitt knocked him off stability and two different Sooners had probabilities at him. However Rodgers obtained previous the primary wave of Sooners, minimize to his left to the sideline and raced for the rating.
Teammate Joe Blahak blocked OU’s Joe Wylie on the 15.
Issues did not get significantly better for OU’s speedy halfbacks, Pruitt and Wylie, the remainder of the day.
Nebraska’s protection, which had allowed solely 6.4 factors this season, minimize off the huge performs of Oklahoma’s superior triple choice on the wishbone assault.
The Cornhuskers’ defensive ends, All-American Willie Harper and John Adkins have been credited with turning the Sooners inside.
“We knew they needed to,” mentioned Nebraska coach Bob Devaney. “They have been turning the play again into our different individuals. The way in which the defensive ends performed the pitchout, we copied from Missouri, which defensed Oklahoma very properly. I talked to John McKay of Southern Cal and he mentioned their defensive ends most likely underestimated Oklahoma’s velocity. So we performed wider.”
Pruitt, who entered the sport with a mean of 158 yards a recreation, was held to 53 yards speeding and Wyile to 11.
Even so, the Sooners outgained the Cornhuskers. Oklahoma rushed for 279 yards and handed for 188 for a complete of 467. Nebraska gained 362.
Sooners Needed to Go
That meant Oklahoma needed to go if it was going to win, and the Cornhuskers sturdy, fast linemen may cost with out regard for the run and the secondary may play a deep zone.
It labored and Oklahoma was stopped in 4 performs at its personal 15 with 1:10 left.
Every staff got here from behind to achieve the lead twice and had its heroes.
It appeared becoming that tailback Jeff Kinney scored the profitable landing, his fourth of the sport. The highly effective 210-pound senior rushed for 174 yards on 31 carries.
Quarterback Jerry Tagge did not have such spectacular statistics — 49 yards speeding and 65 passing — however he appeared to give you the massive play when Nebraska wanted it.
With the huge performs eradicated, quarterback Jack Mildren carried the load for the Sooners, working 130 yards on 31 carries, scoring two contact downs and passing to separate finish Jon Harrison for 2 extra.
OU’s different factors got here on a 30-yard discipline objective from John Carroll.
Devaney known as it “the best victory of my profession. It is a nice Oklahoma staff to beat.”