Sooners Hold Off Huskers to Win 23-16

Sports

50 years after the 1971 “Game of the Century” between Oklahoma and Nebraska, the Sooners held off the Cornhuskers to win 23-16 at Owen Field in Norman on Saturday.

Nebraska missed two field goals and had an extra point blocked and returned for two points, with Oklahoma holding just a 408-384 edge in total yards.

The Sooners have won seven of their last nine games over the Huskers, and four in a row in Norman.

Oklahoma got the ball first and methodically marched 75 yards in 14 plays, with Spencer Rattler passing to Mario Williams for a gain of 19 to the Nebraska 12-yard line on 3rd and 6.

Rattler finished the drive with a one-yard sneak for a touchdown and it was 7-0 OU with 8:02 to play in the first quarter.

Rattler was 24-for-34 passing for 214 yards.

Nebraska responded with a drive that lasted 14 plays and got to the OU 20-yard line, before an unnecessary roughness penalty pushed them back and they had to settle for a 51-yard field goal by Connor Culp to cut Oklahoma’s lead to 7-3 with 1:21 to play in the first quarter.

Both teams exchanged punts, then OU’s Gabe Brkic missed a 54-yard field goal attempt wide right.

The Huskers then did the same thing, with Culp missing a 50-yard field goal attempt wide right with 7:05 to play in the second quarter.

Both teams punted on their next possession and time ran out in the first half with OU with the ball near midfield.

Nebraska got the ball to start the second half and moved into OU territory, but Culp hooked a 35-yard field goal attempt wide left with 9:19 to play in the third quarter.

The Sooners finally got a scoring drive, going 80 yards in 10 plays to extend their lead.

Mario Williams threw back to Rattler, who found Marvin Mims for 23 yards.

An 18-yard run by Eric Gray, then passes of 22 yards and 9 yards from Rattler to Drake Stoops set up a one-yard touchdown pass from Rattler to Jeremiah Hall, giving OU a 14-3 lead with 3:50 to play in the third quarter.

Nebraska responded with their first touchdown drive, going 75 yards in plays.

Adrian Martinez went deep to Travis Vokolek for 39 yards to the OU 6-yard line.

Three plays later, Martinez kept on a four-yard touchdown run to make it 14-9.

On the extra point, Isaiah Coe blocked the kick by Kelen Meyer and Pat Fields returned it from his own end zone all the way for two points and OU led 16-9 with 8 seconds left in the third quarter.

With the momentum regained, OU went 65 yards in 12 plays to extend the lead.

Rattler passed to Haselwood for a gain of 16 yards on 3rd and 7, then Rattler ran for 14 yards to the Nebraska 3-yard line.

Kennedy Brooks capped the drive with a 2-yard touchdown run to make it 23-9 Sooners with 10:24 to play.

Nebraska got a big play on offense to move into Sooner territory, with Martinez passing deep to Zavier Betts, plus a 15-yard sideline penalty on OU that moved the ball to the Sooner 17-yard line.

The OU defense held, though, with Jalen Redmond sacking Martinez on third down, and D.J. Graham making a diving one-handed interception on 4th and 17 at the OU 24, giving the Sooners the ball at their own 3-yard line.

OU’s offense had to punt after just three downs, and Nebraska took advantage of the good field position, going 38 yards in 3 plays, with Martinez passing to Omar Manning for a 21-yard touchdown to make it 23-16 Sooners with 5:38 to play.

Martinez was 19-for-25 for 289 yards passing.

Oklahoma couldn’t run out the clock, but punted the ball back to Nebraska with just under a minute to play.

Perrion Winfrey and Nik Bonitto got a pair of sacks to help clinch the win for the Sooners.

Oklahoma was playing Nebraska for the first time since the 2010 Big 12 Championship Game and for the first time in Norman since 2008.

The Sooners improved to 3-0 on the season and open Big 12 play next Saturday when they host West Virginia at 6:30.

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