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 Nebraska vs. Oklahoma
Jack Mildren connects with Jon Harrison for the huge yardage.
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 Nebraska vs. Oklahoma
Jack Mildren connects with Jon Harrison.
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 Nebraska vs. Oklahoma
Jack Mildren finds Jon Harrison in the end zone for the TD.
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 Nebraska vs. Oklahoma
Johnny Rodgers returns punt for a touchdown.
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 Nebraska vs. Oklahoma: 1971
Harrison to Chandler WR pass.
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 Nebraska vs. Oklahoma: 1971
Mildren 17 yd TD pass.
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 Nebraska vs. Oklahoma: 1971
Neb. QB Tagee run to 3-yd line.
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 Nebraska vs. Oklahoma: 1971
Kinney TD for Neb win.
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Wednesday, November 19, 2003
Sooners and Huskers fans favorite memories


The 1971 Husker-Sooner contest remains the only real "Game of the Century." No. 1 Nebraska handed No. 2 Oklahoma its only loss that year, 35-31, down in Norman on Thanksgiving Day. Johnny "The Jet" Rogers uncorked one of the most electric punt returns in college history to put the Huskers on the board first. This game lived up to all its hype. It was truly, as stated on the Sports Illustrated cover that week, the "immovable object" (Nebraska's defense) against the "irresistible force" of Oklahoma's wishbone offense. Nebraska entered the game with the nation's top defense. Oklahoma entered with the nation's No.1 running game.

The wishbone offense was fairly new at the time. But Sooner QB Jack Mildren triggered it as if he'd been operating the triple option all his life. Nebraska's defense gave up a couple of play-action touchdown passes and some key third-down situations. But the Husker "Blackshirts" shut down Mildren and company when they had to. Husker middle guard Rich Glover made some big stops, even though he was double-teamed and sometimes triple-teamed. On offense, Husker QB Jerry Tagge and I-back Jeff Kinney ran tough as trains all day. In the Huskers' final drive, Kinney carried the load behind an offensive line that clicked on all cylinders.

The Huskers' win earned them an Orange Bowl berth, where they topped Alabama and claimed the national championship. Oklahoma won its bowl game and finished No. 2. The Big Eight also claimed the No. 3 spot (Colorado -- the only time a single conference finished with the top-three-rated teams).

Gene Ray
Hastings, Neb.

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I recall spending a summer when I was about 14 years old and we lived just two miles from the University of Nebraska Stadium. That summer I painted my parents house and the football Saturdays were the best days to paint and listen to the Huskers on the radio. I especially remember being able to hear the crowd two miles away and not on the radio as Nebraska tore into Oklahoma and came away victorious.

It was always such a wonderful, gruesome, but wholesome rivalry back in the days of the Big 8. Oklahoma was our nemesis and vice versa and the world was balanced. Sadly, now they only get to play every other year and it is not even that last game in November anymore. Now those were the days.

Joseph Sis
Eugene, Ore.

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As a grad of UNL I have many great memories of the NU/OU games. In 1971, I was a freshman and went to every home game. Most games were not close that year because the Huskers were the best team in the country. All year long the Sooners kept piling up points with the new wishbone offense that looked more like a track team than running backs. They were very good.

On Thanksgiving Day, the showdown between No. 1 and No. 2 took place. It is in my opinion the greatest college football game I have ever seen. The finest memory of the game was seeing Jeff Kinney score the winning touchdown late in the fourth quarter. One other memory of the game was that a local TV station panned the busiest intersection in Lincoln at halftime and not a thing was moving. Everyone in town was watching the game.

Wesley S. Griffin
Muskogee, Okla.

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My favorite memory is Nov. 11, 1978, Tom Osborne's first victory against Oklahoma. Oklahoma was loaded Thomas Lott and Billy Simms (wishbone football run to perfection) but Nebraska forced fumble after fumble -- not to mention the hit along the sidelines on a kickoff late in the game. If you were there you know the hit. I'll never forget rushing the field at Memorial Stadium at 11 years old to tear down the goal posts.

Scott Scroggins
Miami

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The Orange Bowl on Jan. 1, 1979 is my favorite OU/NU memory. After losing a heart-breaker in Lincoln 17-14 just six weeks prior, a strange twist of fate (Mizzou beat the Huskers) brought the teams face-to-face in the Orange Bowl where OU succeeded 31-24.

Ted Martin
Dallas

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I was at the 1982 NU/OU game in Lincoln, played the day after Thanksgiving. I was 13 and sitting in the student section with my brother who was going to school at NU at the time. The temperature had to be in the mid 20s with a strong Nebraska wind. I don't remember too many details of the game (except for freezing my butt off), but I remember the game being decided on a failed fourth down play by OU to preserve the victory for the Big Red from the North.

Tom Sorenson
Lowell, Ark.

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The most vivid memory of an OU/NU is probably the 1986 game: the ultimate Sooner Magic game. Despite being dominated by an excellent Nebraska team, the Sooners, led by All-American Keith Jackson, manage to come back form a 17-7 fourth-quarter deficit to tie the game with just over a minute to go, with a 94 yard touchdown drive. The tie gave the Sooners a share of the Big 8 title and a trip to the Orange Bowl. Everyone in Soonerland breathed a sigh of relief at the narrow escape.

Then suddenly we had the ball back. Nebraska had run three quick plays then punted. With nine seconds to go, Jamelle Holieway hit, who else, Keith Jackson with a 41-yard pass deep in Nebraska territory. Tim Lashar kicked a 31-yard field goal as time expired and the Sooners had beaten the Huskers again.

As the TV cameras panned the stunned Nebraska crowd, I paused to reflect upon the injustice of it all, my elation tinged with pity for the Husker faithful. Then I went back to celebrating.

JWR
Norman, Okla.

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The OU-Nebraska rivalry is something I've grown up with. At a very early age I would watch and root on the Sooners. Every win made me love the Sooners more, and every loss made me hate the Huskers more. I have always respected the teams Nebraska has put out but I love to hate the Huskers. This Saturday will be my first OU-Nebraska game and although I go to several home games a year, this game to me will be the game of a lifetime.

Brian Glass
Tuttle, Okla.

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