TSN Archive 1971 Nebraska-Oklahoma: Huskers Leave the Shucks for Sooners

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NORMAN, Okla. — The sport of the 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 gained their first 10 video games, stretching their profitable streak to twenty and their unbeaten streak to 29 video games.

BENDER: How Nebraska can compete with OU on Saturday | Week 3 picks towards unfold | Week 2 Takeaways

The Sooners additionally complied, profitable their first 9 video games of the season. Neither staff had had an in depth sport.

A document, partisan crowd of 63,385 at OU’s famed Owen Field and a nationwide tv viewers what finally became an offensive duel and a 35-31 Nebraska victory.

But the Cornhuskers needed to rating with only one:38 remaining in the hard-hitting, thrilling contest earlier than profitable what’s going to in all probability be their second straight legendary nationwide title.

Another Loop Title

It appeared incidental in addition they gained the Big Eight Conference championship, their seventh to win or share in the final 10 years. Oklahoma gained or shared three others.

Although the sport apparently was gained in the closing minutes, the most important single play might have are available in the first 5 minutes of motion.

That’s 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 in the first quarter.

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Many coaches consider the actually huge video games are as a rule, determined in the kicking sport.

The play was inconsistent with what occurred in the remainder of the sport. Neither staff got here up with a serious play in the kicking sport.

Rodgers Explosive

But it was not inconsistent with performances by Rodgers, a 171-pound junior who places worry into the coronary heart 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 Big Eight document for one season.

It appeared that Rodgers was stopped when he obtained the excessive punt on the Nebraska 28-yard line. 

OU’s Greg Pruitt knocked him off steadiness and two different Sooners had probabilities at him. But Rodgers bought previous the first wave of Sooners, reduce to his left to the sideline and raced for the rating.

Teammate Joe Blahak blocked OU’s Joe Wylie at the 15.

Things 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, reduce off the large 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 had to,” stated Nebraska coach Bob Devaney. “They were turning the play back into our other people. The way the defensive ends played the pitchout, we copied from Missouri, which defensed Oklahoma very well. I talked to John McKay of Southern Cal and he said their defensive ends probably underestimated Oklahoma’s speed. So we played wider.”

Pruitt, who entered the sport with a median of 158 yards a sport, was held to 53 yards dashing 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 Had to Pass

That meant Oklahoma needed to move if it was going to win, and the Cornhuskers robust, 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. 

Each 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 dashing and 65 passing — however he appeared to give you the huge play when Nebraska wanted it.

With the large 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 two extra.

OU’s different factors got here on a 30-yard discipline objective from John Carroll.

Devaney known as it “the greatest victory of my career. This is a great Oklahoma team to beat.”

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