It is the latest installment in the Battle of the Big Reds as Nebraska plays host to Oklahoma, renewing one of the most historic matchups in college football history. Game time at Memorial Stadium is set for shortly after 7 p.m. with the game televised regionally on ABC.
Nebraska enters the game with a 5-3 overall record and a 2-2 mark in the Big 12 Conference, following a 20-10 victory at Baylor on Saturday. The win snapped a two-game Nebraska losing streak and kept the Huskers in the thick of the Big 12 North Division race, a half-game behind division leader Kansas State.
Oklahoma comes to Lincoln on a two-game winning streak after a 42-30 victory over Kansas State on Saturday night in Norman. The win improved the Sooners to 5-3 overall this season, including a 3-1 mark in Big 12 play. OU will enter Lincoln ranked 20th in both the Associated Press and USA Today coaches polls. The Sooners’ three losses this season have come by a total of six points.
Oklahoma holds a 44-37-3 all-time edge in the series between the schools and has won the past four meetings, including last year’s victory in Norman. Nebraska owns a 21-18-2 edge in games played in Lincoln and had won six straight over OU in Lincoln before a 31-24 Sooner victory in 2005.
Nebraska: Bo Pelini (Ohio State, ‘90) owns a 15-7 record in his second season with the Huskers. Pelini guided Nebraska to nine wins in his first season as head coach, joining Bob Devaney, Tom Osborne and Frank Solich as the only Nebraska coaches to win nine games in their first season leading the Cornhuskers. Prior to taking over as the Huskers’ head coach, Pelini served as defensive coordinator at NU, Oklahoma and LSU. Previously, he had stints as an NFL assistant with San Francisco, New England and Green Bay.
Oklahoma: Bob Stoops (Iowa, ‘83) is in his 11th season as Oklahoma’s head coach and owns a 114-27 record with the Sooners. Stoops guided the Sooners to the 2000 national championship. His Oklahoma teams have played in four BCS National Championship games and won six Big 12 titles.
Championship Programs Set to Renew Historic Series
Nebraska and Oklahoma meet on Saturday at Memorial Stadium, marking the 85th meeting in one of college football’s top all-time matchups. Oklahoma owns a 44-37-3 lead in the series, but together the two schools have produced an amazing number of national championships, conference championships, bowl victories and national award winners. Nebraska and Oklahoma have combined for 12 national championships, including five by Nebraska and seven by the Sooners.
Celebration of Greatness Set for Friday
The greatness of the players and coaches who have participated in the Nebraska-Oklahoma series will be celebrated on Friday evening in Lincoln. All major award winners from both schools have been invited to attend a private dinner at the Champion’s Club, just west of Memorial Stadium.
As of Sunday, 22 major award winners between the schools are scheduled to attend. The group will also be honored on the field at halftime of Saturday’s game. Those scheduled to attend include:
Nebraska–Larry Jacobson (1971 Outland), Johnny Rodgers (1972 Heisman), Dave Rimington (1981 and 1982 Outland, 1982 Lombardi), Dean Steinkuhler (1983 Outland and Lombardi), Mike Rozier (1983 Heisman), Will Shields (1992 Outland), Trev Alberts (1993 Butkus), Zach Wiegert (1994 Outland), Tommie Frazier (1995 Unitas), Aaron Taylor (1997 Outland), Eric Crouch (2001 Heisman).
Oklahoma–Steve Owens (1969 Heisman and Walter Camp) Greg Pruitt (College Hall of Fame), Joe Washington (College Hall of Fame), Tom Brahaney (College Hall of Fame), Billy Sims (1978 Heisman and Walter Camp), Tony Casillas (1985 Lombardi), Brian Bosworth (1985 and 1986 Butkus), Rickey Dixon (1987 Jim Thorpe), Derrick Strait (2003 Jim Thorpe and Nagurski), Josh Heupel (2000 Walter Camp), Jason White (2003 Heisman, Davey O’Brien, 2004 Maxwell, O’Brien and Unitas).
In addition to the long list of award winners, Hall of Fame coaches Tom Osborne and Barry Switzer will also be in attendance at the event. The Nebraska award winners are also invited to attend a special ribbon cutting for Nebraska’s new Heisman room and major award display in the Osborne Athletic Complex on Friday evening.
1959 Nebraska Team to Hold Reunion
The 1959 Nebraska football team will also hold a reunion this weekend in Lincoln with more than 30 players from the team expected to be on hand. The 1959 season was not a banner campaign for the Huskers, as Nebraska finished with a 4-6 record.
However, the team will be best remembered for a 25-21 victory over Oklahoma in Lincoln on Oct. 31. The win was Nebraska’s first over Oklahoma in 17 years and ended the Sooners’ 74-game conference unbeaten streak. Classes were canceled on the Nebraska campus the following Monday to allow students another day to celebrate.
Nebraska Tackles Third Ranked Foe of 2009
Nebraska will battle 20th-ranked Oklahoma on Saturday night, marking the third ranked foe for the Huskers in 2009. Nebraska lost 16-15 at then-No. 13 Virginia Tech on Sept. 19, before posting a 27-12 win at No. 24 Missouri on Oct. 8. The win over Missouri ended a streak of 10 straight Nebraska losses against nationally ranked opponents.
Nebraska is 1-4 against ranked foes under Bo Pelini, with all of the losses coming against teams ranked 13th or higher at game time.
Oklahoma is ranked for the fourth consecutive meeting between the two schools. Neither team was ranked when the teams met in Lincoln in 2005, but both teams finished the season nationally ranked. The 2005 contest marked the only time since 1962 in the NU-OU series that at least one of the schools has not been ranked entering the contest.
Points Hard to Come By Against Nebraska Defense
Nebraska has allowed 90 points in eight games, and the 11.3 points per game average ranks first in the Big 12 and fourth in the nation. Since 1990, NU has allowed fewer than 90 points through eight games just three times (1990, 1996, 2001).
· The Nebraska defense has surrendered eight offensive touchdowns this season (two opponent defensive TD), including just three passing touchdowns. The Blackshirts did not allow a touchdown until the second quarter of the second game, as the Huskers held their opponents out of the end zone for the first five quarters of the year, the longest season-opening streak since 1994. The 2009 Blackshirts became just the third NU team in the past 40 seasons to not allow a touchdown in the season opener.
· Nebraska held its first five opponents under 20 points for the first time since a streak of five games to open the 2003 season and has held seven of eight opponents to fewer than 20 points.
· The Huskers’ 55-0 shutout of Louisiana-Lafayette marked Nebraska’s first whitewashing of an opponent since a 56-0 win over Troy on Sept. 23, 2006.
Huskers Putting Together Strong Defensive Stretch
After surrendering 358 yards of total offense to Florida Atlantic in the season opener, the Husker defense has held each of its past seven opponents to fewer than 280 total yards. The seven-game streak of holding opposing offenses under 300 total yards is the longest at Nebraska in 13 seasons. Nebraska is allowing an average 267.6 yards per game to rank second in the Big 12 and ninth nationally.
· The last time a Husker squad allowed fewer than 300 total yards in more than seven straight games came in 1996, when NU held its final eight regular season opponents under 300 yards of total offense.
· Included in the current streak is four Big 12 games, marking the first time the Huskers have held four straight Big 12 opponents to fewer than 300 yards of total offense since the eight-game streak in 1996.
· Nebraska’s current average of 267.6 yards per game would be the best by a Blackshirt defense since the 1999 defense allowed an average of 252.3 yards per game to rank fourth in the nation. Nebraska has finished in the top 15 nationally in total defense just twice since 1999 (8th, 2001; 11th, 2003).
Huskers Stack up the Run
Nebraska’s four Big 12 foes have averaged just 76.7 rushing yards, and the Huskers have allowed no rush of longer than 23 yards in conference play. Each of NU’s last six opponents has averaged fewer than 3.0 yards per rush.
· The Husker run defense has been strong since the middle of last season, helping key Nebraska’s overall defensive transformation.
· For the season, NU is allowing 96.2 rushing yards per game to rank third in the Big 12 and 10th nationally.
· The Huskers’ strong play against the run began at Virginia Tech. The NU run defense held the Hokies to just 86 rushing yards, after VT entered the game 13th nationally in rushing at 254.0 yards per game.
· NU has limited seven of its last 10 opponents to 102 or fewer rushing yards.
· Texas Tech managed just 25 rushing yards and the Nebraska defense had five sacks and 13 tackles for loss against the Red Raiders. Baylor rushed for just 54 yards on 32 carries and NU had a season-high seven sacks vs. the Bears, and 13 tackles for loss. The seven sacks were the most by the Huskers since the season opener against Maine in 2005 when NU tied the school record with 11 sacks.
· During Nebraska’s past 12 games its run defense has played a key role in the success. The Huskers have allowed an average of just 82.8 rushing yards in those contests.