Going into Saturday night's Big 12 Championship showdown the Sooners and Huskers have met a total of 85 times. Oklahoma has a slight lead in the series with a 44-38-3 record against the Huskers. The longest winning streak Oklahoma has had over Nebraska is 16 (1943-1958) and the longest losing streak for OU in the series is 7 (1991-1997).
Obviously the 1971 Game of the Century is the crowning moment in the history of this series but that was just a bit before my time which leaves me relegated to watching videos and reading literature about that storied game. However, there have been a lot of memorable moments in the series during my lifetime and here are my Top 5. Please feel free to add yours in the comments section.
#5 Buster Rhymes Goes 43-Yards - The 1980 OU/Nebraska game determined the Big 8 Champion and would send the winner on to the Orange Bowl. With the Sooners trailing, in Lincoln, 17-14 in the final minutes of the game, Oklahoma freshman running back Buster Rhymes reeled off a 43-yard dash to the Nebraska 1. He would then score on a 1-yard dive to give the Sooners a 21-14 win. Oklahoma beat OSU 63-14 the next week and then went on to beat Florida State 18-17 in the Orange Bowl to finish #3 in the nation.
#4 Chijioke Onyenegecha's 63-Yard Pick 6 - The 2005 Oklahoma football season wasn't one that we particularly like to sit around and talk about but Oklahoma was able to put together a nice run to close out the season and this game was included in that stretch. The Sooners had already jumped out to a 14-0 lead on the Huskers, thanks to two Adrian Peterson runs, but in the second quarter Nebraska had kicked a field goal to cut the lead to 14-3 and were driving once again to potentially make it a one score game. That's when Chijioke Onyenegecha jumped in front of a Zac Taylor pass and took it 63-yards for a score. The interception put the Sooners up 21-3 and gave them just enough cushion to hang on for a 31-24 victory in Lincoln. The Sooners would go on to beat 6th ranked Oregon in the Holiday Bowl.
#3 George Cumby Stonewalls Craig Johnson On 4th Down - The 1978 season gave us the unique opportunity to see the Sooners and Huskers face off in the post-season. After Nebraska topped Oklahoma 17-14 in Lincoln during the regular season they dropped the opportunity to win the conference outright by losing to Missouri 35-31 the next week and were forced to share the conference title with the Sooners. Capitalizing on opportunity the Orange Bowl Committee decided to offer invites to both the Sooners and Huskers for their first and only bowl match-up. When Barry Switzer presented his squad the options of facing Houston in the Cotton Bowl or a rematch with Nebraska in the Orange Bowl the unanimous decision was to head to Miami.
After Nebraska scored on its opening drive the Sooners responded with barrage of 31 points to eventually build a 31-10 lead going into the fourth quarter. Nebraska got things rolling a bit in the fourth when they put together a 15-play/73-yard touchdown drive to cut the score to 31-17. Thomas Lot fumbled on Oklahoma's next possession, giving the Huskers life at the OU 42. Nebraska moved the ball to the OU 7 and facing a fourth and one, threatened to make it a one score game if they could convert and score. On the 4th down play, Nebraska tailback Craig Johnson was met in the A-Gap by linebacker George Cumby and was dropped for no gain.
The stop help Oklahoma stave off a Nebraska comeback and secure the Orange Bowl victory and a #3 national ranking to end the season.
#2 Josh Norman's Blocked Field Goal - Going into the 2000 OU/Nebraska game both teams were undefeated but the Huskers were the #1 team in the nation and were riding a 13-game winning streak. They looked every bit the part as well by taking a 14-0 lead into the second quarter. However, a pair of Josh Heupel touchdowns tied the game for Oklahoma and completely swung the momentum in the Sooners' favor.
After holding Nebraska to a three-and-out on their next series, Josh Norman broke through the Husker line to block Dan Hadenfeldt's punt. Andre Woolfolk picked up the ball and ran it to the Nebraska three before being tackled. The exchange would set up a Tim Duncan field goal and Oklahoma wouldn't look back after taking a 17-14 lead. The end result was a 31-14 Sooner win and a #1 spot in the next week's BCS rankings. It ended a seven game losing streak to Nebraska and most importantly established Oklahoma as being back among college football's elite.
#1 Keith Jackson's One Handed Catch - Once again when these two teams met in 1986 the conference championship was on the line. The Sooners were unbeaten in conference while the Huskers had a previous loss to Colorado on the season. The Sooners trailed 17-7 going into the final quarter but were able to rally with a Tim Lasher field goal and a Jamelle Holieway to Keith Jackson touchdown pass to tie the score at 17-17. That set up a little Sooner Magic and possibly the greatest catch in OU football history.
With under a minute left in the game, Oklahoma got the ball on their own 37-yard line and went to work. Facing a third and long with just 18 seconds left, Holieway once more looked for Jackson and heaved up a prayer that was answered with a one handed catch and a 41-yard gain to set up Lasher's game winning field goal. The 20-17 win gave the Sooners their third consecutive conference championship and placed them in the Orange Bowl where they'd demolish Arkansas 42-8 and finish #3 in the nation.