Sooners Football: Five Biggest OU Orange Bowl Wins

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Nov 21, 2015; Norman, OK, USA; Oklahoma Sooners players run onto the field before the game against the TCU Horned Frogs at Gaylord Family – Oklahoma Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Jan. 1, 1979 – Oklahoma 31, Nebraska 24

The 1979 Orange Bowl, played on New Year’s Day following the 1978 college football season, paired two Big Eight teams, longtime rivals Oklahoma and Nebraska.

It was rare enough for two teams from the same conference to be matched up in this bowl game, but the two teams actually faced each other during the 1978 regular season, and the Cornhuskers defeated then No. 1 Oklahoma 17-14. After knocking off the top-ranked Sooners, Nebraska could have avoided the rematch with the Sooners by beating unranked Missouri the following weekend. Missouri upset then then-No. 2 Cornhuskers, however, and the Orange Bowl selection committee liked the idea of having the two schools that had played in the most Orange Bowl games going against each other in a rematch of the regular-season thriller.

While Oklahoma relished the opportunity to avenge the earlier loss, for Nebraska it amounted to their worst nightmare.

Both teams tallied touchdowns in the first quarter, but Oklahoma took a 14-7 lead into halftime on a three-yard touchdown run off the triple option by quarterback Thomas Lott.

That would be as close as Nebraska would come to defeating the Sooners twice in the same season. Oklahoma took total control of the game in the third quarter, scoring 17 points to a single Nebraska field goal to take a commanding 31-10 lead into the final quarter.

So while the 1979 Orange Bowl win did not result in a national championship, it might have been the second best possible outcome, reversing the regular-season loss to its biggest conference rival and accomplishing it on a national stage.

Next: Jan. 1, 1986 - Oklahoma 25, Penn State 10