Oklahoma Football: 30 Best Games in School History

9 of 31

Oct 24, 2015; Norman, OK, USA; Oklahoma Sooners fans are seen prior to action against the Texas Tech Red Raiders at Gaylord Family – Oklahoma Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Nov. 25, 1971 – Nebraska 35, Oklahoma 31

Billed at the time as the “Game of the Century,” this matchup of old conference rivals featured No. 1 Nebraska against second-ranked Oklahoma and served up as a holiday feast on this Thanksgiving Day.

The Sports Illustrated cover that week featured photo images of Nebraska linebacker Bob Terrio and Oklahoma running back Greg Pruitt with the headline: Irresistible Oklahoma Meets Immovable Nebraska.”

Both teams entered the game with high-powered offensive attacks, but the first half belonged more to the defensive units of both teams. Nebraska jumped out in front early 14-3, but the legs of Sooner quarterback Jack Mildren and fullback Leon Crosswhite brought Oklahoma back within four points, powering an 80-yard touchdown march with just over five minutes left in the half.

Then just before halftime, Oklahoma foiled the Nebraska defense that was looking for quarterback runs or options out of the Wishbone formation with a couple of downfield passes to split end Jon Harrison, the second one of which ended up in the Husker end zone, putting the Sooners up 17-14 at halftime.

Nebraska scored twice in the third quarter to take the lead at 28-17 and push it out to the 11-point advantage the Huskers enjoyed in the first quarter.

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After the Huskers scored to up the advantage to 28-17, the Sooners responded on their very next possession, the big play coming on a trick play that resulted in a 51-yard pass from Harrison to junior end Albert Chandler. From the Nebraska 16, four straight runs by Mildren put the ball in the end zone and regained the lead for Oklahoma at 31-28.

It became abundantly clear as time wound down in the final quarter that the team with the final possession was going to win the game.

With a little over seven minutes remaining in the game, Nebraska took possession at its own 26-yard line after the Sooners’ ensuing kickoff. Over the next five and a half minutes, the Nebraska offense, led by quarterback Jerry Tagge and halfback Jeff Kinney, orchestrated a methodical 74-yard drive. Kinney bulled his way into the end zone with 1:38 left on the clock, regaining the lead for Nebraska, 35-31.

The Sooners had one more chance, but on a fourth-down play with 12 yards to go for a first down, a pass from Mildren intended for Harrison was deflected and fell incomplete, sending the Nebraska sidelines into a victory celebration.

Watch highlights of this historic Sooner game by clicking on this video.

“Game of the Century” may have been a little strong, but this game certainly lived up to all the dramatics you could expect from a game featuring the top two teams in the rankings that season. Nebraska went on the claim the national championship in 1971. Oklahoma ended the season at No. 2 in the final Associated Press rankings.

Next: Nov. 8, 1975, Kansas 23, Oklahoma 3