I usually like to reflect a little on the previous week’s game but after beating Buffalo 28-3 (and what should have been 45-3 if the refs didn’t have shit in their ey- …oh never mind), but the same sour butt ticks who told me we were going to get our asses handed to us by the Bulls were now bleating we should’ve beaten them by more. Ah well.
This week, all I could think about is the history of this rivalry which, for me, basically died with the formation of the Big 12 which meant the end of the late November matchup which almost always determined the Big 8 champion. In my lifetime, it was about Osborne vs. Switzer with Switzer holding a 12-5 record in that matchup before Dr. Tom took control. Following Barry’s ouster at Oklahoma, the Huskers ran off a record of 8-1 against the Sooners allowing Osborne to finish 13-13 against his bitter rival.
I moved to Omaha in 1977 and have watched or attended every Husker-Sooner game since. Many of those were enjoyed in various states of inebriation but the memories seem fairly solid nonetheless. This week, I’ve just decided to live in the past a little and pour a couple out for my dead homie - the old school Big 8 battles between the two. Here’s a few of my favorites:
1977 - #3 Oklahoma 38 - #11 Nebraska 7 - My first NU-OU game after moving to Nebraska. I learn who Uwe Von Schamann is and that’s the high point as Thomas Lott and Elvis Peacock rush for a combined 266 yards in this blowout.
1978 - #4 Nebraska 17 - #1 Oklahoma 14 - THE HIT by John Ruud is maybe the greatest thing I had seen in football up to that point. Unfortunately, I get my first lesson in the strange decisions both on & off the field that will go against the Huskers repeatedly as 1) Kelly Phelps is ruled down despite spinning in mid-air as the ball flies out - no fumble - and 2) the Huskers are rewarded for finally beating Oklahoma - by having to play Oklahoma again in the Orange Bowl. (After that it would basically be a road game against the highest ranked Florida team. Neat)
1982 - #3 Nebraska 28 - #11 Oklahoma 24 - The beginning of The Scoring Machine overcomes an 86-yard TD run by Marcus Dupree to pull out a 28-24 victory. Thankfully, Dupree’s impending meltdown prevents us from having to deal with that for four more years.
1983 - #1 Nebraska 28 - Oklahoma 21 - Oklahoma being unranked didn’t seem to matter. Neil Harris knocks away two passes to Buster Rhymes (in one of his 9 years of eligibility) on 3rd and 4th down with under a minute left as Nebraska holds on behind 205 yard rushing from Mike Rozier.
1985 - #5 Oklahoma 27 - #2 Nebraska 7 - Included here only because it was the first of my three trips to Norman. (Since I already wrote about it, I won’t go into detail again - you can CLICK HERE to enjoy the debauchery) As for the game, Jamelle Holieway, Keith Jackson and Brian Bosworth kicked the shit out of us. That is all.
1986 - #3 Oklahoma 20 - #5 Nebraska 17 - The all-red uniform game. Despite the ranking, the Huskers were huge underdogs in this game, but carried a 17-7 lead into the 4th quarter. The Sooners scored 10 points In the last 1:22 to pull out the victory, but you will never convince me Memorial Stadium has ever been louder as people told me they could hear the crowd inside bars downtown that day.
1992 - #12 Nebraska 33 - Oklahoma 9 - Tommie Frazier’s first game against Oklahoma, but it’s the We-Backs who pace the Huskers as Derek Brown and Calvin Jones both go over 1000 yards for the season.
1994 - #1 Nebraska 13 - Oklahoma 3 - With Tommie on the sideline wearing a #17 jersey with no name on it, the Huskers defense stands tall in eking out a low-scoring win over the unranked Sooners. Frazier dressing would portend his playing in the Orange Bowl against Miami and winning Ozzy his first national title. It was was my second trip to Norman and as we left, a grizzled old Sooner fan said “Congrats. Now will you go win the whole goddamned thing for once?” before shaking his head and stomping off. I love Norman.
1995 - #1 Nebraska 37 - Oklahoma - The Sooners hire Hank Schnellenberger to try and recapture some of that Miami magic against Nebraska.
The final true Nebraska/Oklahoma game ends with a confused fan who had never been to a Husker game wondering out loud why most of the joint went absolutely batshit when backup (at the time) Joel Makovicka scored a late TD for a 37-0 lead.
Behind me, someone answered, “The line was 36 1/2.”
Perfect way to end things before the Big 12 comes along to wreck it.
Welcome back OU-NU.