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Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Husker Game Week: Oklahoma Sooners

Courtesy of Nebraska Athletics

Nebraska renews one of the great matchups in college football history this Saturday, as the Huskers travel to Norman, Okla., to take on the Oklahoma Sooners. Game time at OU’s Gaylord Family/Oklahoma Memorial Stadium is set for 11 a.m. CT, with national television coverage on FOX. The network’s Big Noon Kickoff will also originate from Norman for the marquee non-conference matchup.

Nebraska and Oklahoma were in the same conference from 1921 to 2010, spanning the Missouri Valley, Big Six, Big Seven, Big Eight and Big 12 Conferences.  The Huskers and Sooners met for 71 consecutive seasons from 1927 to 1997, and squared off most recently in the 2010 Big 12 Championship Game. Saturday’s matchup will be the 87th all-time meeting between the schools.

Nebraska is 2-1 following a solid 28-3 win over Buffalo. The Blackshirt defense controlled the game for a second straight week, holding the Bulls scoreless in the first half and allowing just a field goal. It marked the second straight week Nebraska’s defense has allowed fewer than 10 points. In turn, the Husker offense finished with better than 500 yards, featuring a balanced attack for the second straight game.

Oklahoma comes into Saturday’s game with a 2-0 record, following a 76-0 victory over Western Carolina on Saturday night in Norman. The Sooners are ranked No. 3 in both the the Associated Press Poll and USA Today Coaches Poll. Coach Lincoln Riley’s team has won the past four Big 12 titles, with Riley compiling a 47-8 record with the Sooners.

Oklahoma is averaging 527.0 yards of total offense per game, behind quarterback Spencer Rattler who has completed 77 percent of his passes with six touchdowns. The Sooner defense has limited opponents to 287.0 yards per game.

Series History: Nebraska vs. Oklahoma
Saturday’s matchup in the storied “Battle of the Big Reds” is the first between Nebraska and Oklahoma since the 2010 Big 12 Championship Game in Arlington, Texas. The schools have met 86 times on the gridiron, with Oklahoma owning a 45-38-3 edge in the all-time series.

This year’s game is the first in a home-and-home series between the schools. Nebraska is set to play host to the Sooners at Memorial Stadium in Lincoln on Sept. 17, 2022. The schools are also set to meet in a home-and-home series in 2029 (Norman) and 2030 (Lincoln).

• Nebraska and Oklahoma met for 71 consecutive seasons from 1927 to 1997 before the streak was snapped in 1998 with the start of the North-South scheduling rotation in the Big 12.

• Nebraska was 16-3-3 in the first 22 games in the series, including 11 shutouts, before Oklahoma was 22-4 from 1943 to 1968. The series has been nearly even since 1969, with Oklahoma holding a slim 20-18 edge.

• Five times Oklahoma handed Nebraska its only regular-season loss (1964, 1966, 1975, 1979, 1987), while twice Nebraska has given Oklahoma its only regular-season loss (1971, 1978).

• The schools met twice in No. 1 vs. No. 2 matchups including the 1971 Game of the Century and the 1987 game in Lincoln. Both of those games were won by the visiting team, with Nebraska using the 1971 victory to catapult it to a second consecutive national championship.

• One of the two schools has been ranked No. 1 in 13 meetings, including eight times by Nebraska, most recently in 2000.

• Since the AP poll began in 1936, the NU-OU matchup has featured at least one ranked team in 61 of 71 games, including Oklahoma’s No. 3 ranking this season. Both teams have been ranked in 24 of the meetings.

• The series has featured at least one top-10 team in 49 games and two top-10 teams 18 times, with the matchup featuring at least one top-10 team in 22 straight games from 1970 to 1990.  In 17 games since 1971, both teams were ranked in the top 10.

• Nebraska’s biggest ever upset win was a 25-21 victory in 1959, ending OU’s 36-game win streak and 74-game conference unbeaten streak.

• Hall of Fame Coach Tom Osborne posted his 250th win against Oklahoma in 1997, with a 69-7 win in Lincoln, the largest margin of victory in the series.

Huskers, Sooners Share Rich History
Nebraska and Oklahoma are two of just eight schools in college football history to win 900 or more games, with OU ranking sixth in all-time wins (919) and Nebraska seventh (907).

• In looking at the most wins in college football over the past 30, 40, and 50 years, Nebraska and Oklahoma each rank in the top 10 in all of those categories.

• The schools have combined to win 12 national championships and 96 conference titles, including five national championships and 46 conference crowns by Nebraska.

NU-OU Celebrate 50th Anniversary of Game of the Century
As one of college football’s greatest rivalries there are numerous memorable games in the Nebraska-Oklahoma series.  However, no game in the series is more remembered than Nebraska’s 35-31 victory in Norman in 1971. The game is still referred to as the “Game of the Century”.

• The schools will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Thanksgiving Day classic at this Saturday’s game in Norman. Both teams will wear a helmet decal honoring the 1971 game.

• Nebraska opened the scoring on Johnny Rodgers’ legendary punt return to give the Huskers a 7-0 lead. However, the game went back and forth, with three lead changes in the second half, after Oklahoma took its first lead of the game, 17–14, with five seconds left to play in the first half. Oklahoma would go ahead once more, 31–28 with 7:10 left in the game, but Nebraska then answered with a 74-yard drive for the winning touchdown with 1:38 left. In all, Nebraska had scored touchdowns on three of its last four possessions to secure a 35–31 victory.

• Nebraska went on to win its second consecutive national championship and complete a 13-0 season. Oklahoma finished at 11-1 and No. 2 in the final polls.

Nebraska Offense Showing Explosive Ability
Nebraska has gotten its offense rolling in victories over Fordham and Buffalo and posted several impressive statistics in the process.

• Against Fordham, Nebraska finished the game with 329 rushing yards and 304 passing yards to roll up 633 yards of total offense. It was Nebraska’s best offensive output since posting 674 yards of total offense at Illinois in 2019.

• The win over Fordham marked the fifth time NU has topped 600 yards in Scott Frost‘s four years as head coach. Among Big Ten teams, only Ohio State (9) has more 600-yard games in that time span.

• Nebraska’s 300-300 offensive output was a rare statistical feat in school history. The Huskers had reached that mark just twice previously vs. South Dakota State in 2013 and at Illinois in 2019.

• Nebraska has accounted for two of the seven 300/300 games by Big Ten teams over the past four years (Ohio State-3; Maryland-1; Penn State-1).

• The Huskers scored 52 points against Fordham, surpassing the 50-point mark for the first time since a 54-7 win at Maryland in 2019.

• In a 28-3 win over Buffalo, Nebraska gained 516 yards of offense, including plays of 71 (Martinez run), 68 (Martinez to Toure TD) and 68 yards (Martinez to Toure TD). The game marked the first time since a 2010 win at Kansas State in which Nebraska had three plays of longer than 60 yards.

• Nebraska averaged 8.5 yards on 61 offensive snaps against Buffalo. For the season, Nebraska averages 6.8 yards per play to rank 4th in the Big Ten and 29th nationally.

• Nebraska has five plays of 50 yards or more to tie for second in the country in that category.

• Nebraska has opened the season with a 100-yard rusher and 100-yard receiver in each of the first three games. Adrian Martinez has two 100-yard rushing games (Illinois, Buffalo), with Markese Stepp adding a third game over the century mark (Fordham). Samori Toure has topped the century mark in receiving yards each of the past two weeks, after Oliver Martin surpassed 100 yards at Illinois.

• Unofficial research indicates this is the first time in school history Nebraska has had a 100-yard rusher and 100-yard receiver in three straight games.

Toure Leading Husker Receiving Corps
Nebraska senior receiver Samori Toure joined the program in January after earning FCS All-America honors at Montana. Toure has made his mark for the Huskers, catching 13 passes for 306 yards and two touchdowns through three games.  He has also rushed five times for 44 yards and a touchdown.

• Toure caught two passes for 136 yards against Buffalo, scoring on a pair of 68-yard touchdown receptions. Toure’s two catches of better than 65 yards marked the third time in school history a Husker player had accomplished that statistical achievement, joining Irving Fryar (1983 at Minnesota, 70 and 68 yards) and Frantz Hardy (2006 vs. Kansas, 78 and 75 yards).

• Toure’s 136-yard effort against Buffalo was his second straight 100-yard receiving game. He had eight catches for 133 yards against Fordham. Toure is the first Husker with back-to-back 100-yard receiving games since JD Spielman accomplished the feat against Purdue and Wisconsin in 2018.

• Toure has 10 career 100-yard receiving games, including eight at Montana.

• Toure’s two 100-yard receiving games came after Oliver Martin had a 100-yard effort at Illinois. This marks the first time Nebraska has had a 100-yard receiver in three straight games since midway through the 2017 season.
Toure  caught 87 passes for a school-record 1,495 receiving yards at Montana in 2019, which ranked second nationally. Toure came to Nebraska with career totals of 155 receptions, 2,488 yards and 20 touchdowns.

Click here to read Nebraska’s full notes package

Derek Nesterhttps://sunflowerstateradio.com
Derek Nester was born and raised in Blue Rapids and graduated from Valley Heights High School in 2000. He attended Cowley College in Arkansas City and Johnson County Community College in Overland Park studying Journalism & Media Communications. In 2002 Derek joined Taylor Communications, Inc. in Salina, Kansas working in digital media for 550 AM KFRM and 100.9 FM KCLY. Following that stop, he joined Dierking Communications, Inc. stations KNDY AM & FM as a board operator and fill-in sports play-by-play announcer. Starting in 2005 Derek joined the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network as a Studio Coordinator at 101 The Fox in Kansas City, a role he would serve for 15 years culminating in the Super Bowl LIV Championship game broadcast. In 2021 he moved to Audacy, formerly known as Entercom Communications, Inc. and 106.5 The Wolf and 610 Sports Radio, the new flagship stations of the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network, the largest radio network in the NFL. Through all of this, Derek continues to serve as the Digital Media Director for Sunflower State Radio, the digital and social media operations of Dierking Communications, Inc. and the 6 radio stations it owns and operates across Kansas.

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