Lincoln (Nov. 1, 1997) - The 1997 Nebraska-Oklahoma game marked the end of an era for one of the nation’s best collegiate football rivalries. It also marked a celebration in Lincoln, as Husker coach Tom Osborne reached the 250-win plateau faster than any coach in college history.
Meeting on the gridiron for the final time until 2000, the game between the Huskers and Sooners bore little resemblance to the classic match-ups that made the "Battle of Big Reds" special. A combination of Husker firepower and Sooner mistakes let Nebraska blow the game open early and cruise to a 69-7 victory, the most lopsided in the series’ 78-game history.
In the first half, Nebraska got touchdown runs from Joel Makovicka, Correll Buckhalter and Scott Frost, as well as a Frost 40-yard touchdown pass to freshman phenom Bobby Newcombe. Also included in the Huskers’ offensive onslaught were two Kris Brown field goals, giving the Huskers a 34-0 halftime lead.
The rout continued in the second half as Lance Brown scored from nine yards out to give the Huskers a 41-0 lead, before Makovicka broke loose on runs of 37 and 32 yards to push the Husker lead to 55-0 with five minutes left in the third quarter. After nearly 11 scoreless quarters, the Blackshirt defense finally surrendered a score as OU hit paydirt late in the third quarter.
Two fourth-quarter Husker touchdowns capped a strong Nebraska performance and improved the Huskers to 8-0 on the season. Makovicka rushed for 101 yards and three scores, while I-back Ahman Green again topped the 100-yard mark, rushing for 105 yards on 18 carries. On the defensive side, Grant Wistrom showed why he was an All-American. The senior had 10 tackles, including two sacks and caused three fumbles, one of which he recovered himself.
The win gave Tom Osborne 250 wins in just 25 seasons and 302 games and solidified Nebraska’s hold on the top spot in the rankings.