Nebraska Ends Sooners' Win Streak
It was Crouch who provided the biggest highlight of the day for the Big Red faithful, as he caught a 63-yard touchdown pass from true freshman Mike Stuntz to put the game out of reach with six minutes remaining in the contest. With the Huskers hanging on to a narrow 13-10 lead and the ball at the Nebraska 37, Crouch ran down the line to his left and pitched to Thunder Collins, who looked to be running a reverse. Collins then tossed the ball to Stuntz, who hit Crouch in stride at the Oklahoma 40. Crouch, who had one previous touchdown reception in his career, then went into the endzone untouched for the final margin.
With the Huskers leading 20-10, OU had at least one more chance to get back in the game, but the Blackshirts came up big. NU allowed the Sooners just 10 yards on 11 plays in their final two drives. Junior nose tackle Jon Clanton sealed OU?s fate with a 12-yard sack of OU quarterback Nate Hybl on third down, before Hybl?s last-chance throw to Curtis Fagan fell incomplete, helping Nebraska seal its sixth win in the last eight attempts against teams ranked in the AP top three. Also joining Clanton with big defensive plays all day was senior linebacker Jamie Burrow, who recorded 16 tackles including one tackle for loss.
Crouch became the third Husker to pass for 1,000 yards in a season with 102 yards on 10-of-18 passing. He now has 4,059 career passing yards and 3,117 rushing yards, becoming just the third player in NCAA I-A history to pass for over 4,000 yards and rush for over 3,000 in a career. He tied the school record with his 33rd career victory under center for NU and has helped the Huskers to a 20-game home winning streak and 11-game unbeaten streak dating back to last season.
The teams started out much slower on offense, as neither squad could gain momentum in the first period. Nebraska managed just 45 yards on 20 plays in the first quarter, but the Sooners weren?t the only top-rated defense on the field. Nebraska?s Blackshirts kept Oklahoma in check as well, allowing just 59 yards as the two teams combined to punt nine times in the period.
The Sooners, who entered the contest with a 20-game unbeaten streak, opened the scoring in the second quarter, as Hybl found tight end Trent Smith for a four-yard touchdown pass. Hybl came in after OU starter Jason White left the game with a knee injury, but White returned briefly in the third quarter.
The Huskers came right back on its next possession, marching 80 yards in 10 plays before Dahrran Diedrick scored from three yards out. Nebraska, which had struggled running for most of the early going, found success through the air on the drive, as Crouch was 4-for-4 for 54 yards, before Diedrick?s 16-yard run to the three set up Nebraska?s first score to tie the game one play later.
After holding the Sooners on their next possession, Nebraska?s special teams set up the Huskers? second score, a Josh Brown 27-yard field goal to provide the Huskers a 10-7 advantage. DeJuan Groce returned a Jeff Ferguson punt 33-yards to the Oklahoma 30, leading to Brown?s field goal six plays later
Oklahoma knotted the game at 10 at the half, marching 77 yards to set up Tim Duncan?s 20-yard field goal with 15 second remaining before intermission. The Sooners had first-and-goal at the Nebraska 2, but the Husker defense stood firm, forcing the OU field goal attempt.
Nebraska capitalized on Oklahoma?s second turnover of the game, turning an Erwin Swiney interception into Brown?s second 27-yard field goal of the game for a 13-10 NU lead. The Huskers marched 55 yards in seven plays, highlighted by Thunder Collins? 29-yard run, to set up the go-ahead field goal
Nebraska Postgame Notes
In yet another game for the ages, the No. 1 (Oklahoma) and No. 2 (Nebraska) BCS teams met on the field for the second consecutive year. None of the 246th consecutive sellout crowd were disappointed. Nebraska defeated Oklahoma, 20-10 in Lincoln, in a game that featured two excellent defenses. Both Oklahoma and Nebraska entered the game ranked among the top 30 in all four defensive categories. Nebraska entered the game leading the nation in rushing and totaled 164 yards on the ground. OU outgained Nebraska 339-329, with 105 yards on the ground and 234 by air.
The No. 3/3 (AP/Coaches) Cornhuskers are now 9-0 on the season (5-0 in Big 12 action), defeating No. 2/2 Oklahoma (7-1, 4-1), marking the first time Coach Frank Solich has led his team to a 9-0 start. NU has started a season 9-0 four times in the 90s and 15 times overall. The ninth win also extended Nebraska's NCAA record for consecutive nine-win seasons to 33. The victory was Solich?s first over OU, but Nebraska's eighth win over the Sooners in nine tries, dating back to 1991. Coach Solich improves to 40-7 in his four-year career, marking the first time ever that a Husker coach has won 40 games in his first four years. Coach Solich now ranks fourth among Division I-A Coaches for wins in first four years. He has a 40-7 record for an .851 career winning percentage.
After a scoreless first quarter, in which Nebraska punted five times and OU punted four times, Oklahoma scored first, marking the fourth time this season that Nebraska has trailed (also Troy State, Missouri and Texas Tech). OU put seven points on the board on a four-yard pass from Nate Hybl to Trent Smith with 10:27 remaining in the second quarter. Nebraska answered with a 10-play drive as I-back Dahrran Diedrick scored on a two-yard run with 5:58 remaining. OU and NU exchanged field goals, Nebraska?s came on a 27-yard Josh Brown kick with 2:36 remaining in the second quarter and OU scored with :15 seconds remaining in the half on a Tim Duncan 20-yard field goal. Duncan?s field goal came on a 14-play drive, the longest vs. the Huskers this season, to tie the score at 10.
Nebraska went up 13-10 with 11:31 in the third quarter, converting a Nate Hybl interception, picked off by NU?s Erwin Swiney, into three points as Brown hit a 26-yard field goal. The Huskers carried the 13-10 lead into the fourth quarter. Nebraska put the game away on a trick play with 6:17 remaining in the fourth quarter when No. 2 I-back Thunder Collins reversed to true freshman Mike Stuntz and Stuntz threw a 63-yard TD strike to quarterback Eric Crouch. It was Stuntz? first career pass, as the left-handed throwing freshman moved to wingback from quarterback for this season, but is expected to move back to quarterback next year. The touchdown provided the final margin of 20-10, and ended Oklahoma?s nation-leading 20-game winning streak. It was Oklahoma?s first loss since Dec. 31, 1999 (Mississippi).
The win for the Huskers was Nebraska's 11th straight overall and Nebraska?s 20th straight win at home, extending the nation's longest current winning streak (tied for the fifth longest in school history). The win was Nebraska?s second over a ranked opponent this season and marked the first win over a top-three opponent for Solich. NU is now 10-6 under Solich vs. ranked teams. Today?s game was Nebraska?s 31st vs. a top three team since 1962 (NU was 0-10 vs. AP top three before 1962), and Solich?s third. NU is 10-20-1 in those games, 1-2 under Solich. NU has won six of their last eight matchups against the AP top three and 11 of the last 13 games against AP top 10 teams since 1994. In the 31 games vs. top three teams, NU is 3-6 vs. Oklahoma. NU is 89-90-3 all time against AP ranked teams. Today?s win marked the fifth time NU has defeated a higher-ranked Oklahoma team and the first time NU has defeated a higher-ranked team since NU defeated Kansas State, 41-15 in Lincoln (NU No. 7, KSU No. 5).
* Nebraska wins its 100th straight game when holding opponents to 10 points or less. All-time, NU is 208-5-1 all-time when holding opponents to 10 points or less. NU has held six of its nine opponents to less than 10 points this season. The 10 points are the lowest Oklahoma has scored under Coach Stoops.
* In the Series...NU decreased OU?s series lead to 40-37-3 and increased its lead in Lincoln to 21-17-2. In the series, a team has come from behind to win in 26 of the last 35 games.
* Senior quarterback Eric Crouch improves to 33-5 as a starter and improves to 8-5 over ranked opponents. Crouch became just the 12th quarterback in Division I-A history to record 33 wins as a starter and tied 1995 Heisman Trophy runner-up Tommie Frazier for the Nebraska school record. Frazier had 33 wins against three losses from 1992 to 1995. Crouch put the icing on the cake today, scoring Nebraska?s second touchdown on a 63-yard reception from freshman wingback and converted quarterback Mike Stuntz. For Crouch it was his third career reception, his second for a touchdown, a career-long, and the first since he tied an NCAA record by scoring via pass, rush and reception in 1999 vs. California. It was Crouch?s only TD of the day today, breaking a string of five games when he has scored at least one rushing TD. Crouch rushed 13 times for a season-low 21 yards, his lowest since rushing for 14 yards at Kansas in 1999. Crouch was 10-for-18 passing for 102 yards and no TDs, and threw his sixth interception of the season, as time expired, on a Hail-Mary first half-ending pass.
Crouch became just the third Husker quarterback to pass for 1,000 yards in three consecutive seasons, joining Jerry Tagge (1969-70-71) and Dave Humm (1972-73-74) as he now has 1,088 yards this season, completing 75-of-130 passes for a 57.7 completion percentage and a Big 12-leading 136.5 pass efficiency rating. Crouch has rushed for 798 yards this year and leads all Division I-A rushers with 14 rushing TDs.
Crouch owns Nebraska school records for career rushing yards by a quarterback (3,117), most rushing TDs by any player (55), career total offense (7,176) and most total offense TDs (84), to name a few. Crouch is also the NCAA Division I-A record holder for most rushing touchdowns by a quarterback, passing Ohio's Kareem Wilson's (49). Crouch became just the third Division I-A quarterback to rush for 3,000 and pass for 4,000 yards, as he now has 4,059 passing yards and 3,117 rushing yards in his career (also Brian Mitchell, Louisiana Lafayette, 3,335 rush, 5,447 pass, 1986-89), Antwaan Randle El, Indiana, 3,418 rush, 6,657, 1998-01). Crouch was named the ABC/Chevrolet Player of the game for the 11th time in his career (Oklahoma?s player of the game was Rocky Calmus).
* Junior I-back Dahrran Diedrick was the game?s leading rusher with 23 carries for 90 yards. He had a two-yard touchdown run with 5:58 in the second quarter to tie the game at seven-all. Diedrick leads the Big 12 with 961 yards this season and has 1,476 in his career to rank 31st on the NU career rushing chart.
* No. 2 I-back Thunder Collins rushed four times for 47 yards, including a 39-yard run early in the third quarter that led to Josh Brown? second field goal. It was Collins? fifth long run of the season, but on the play, Collins suffered a sprained ankle, but returned to action in the fourth quarter. Collins came back in the game in time to handoff to Mike Stuntz on a reverse (who threw to Crouch for the TD).
* Senior tight end Tracey Wistrom extended his streak to 12-straight regular-sesaon games with at least one catch. Although hampered by a knee injury, Wistrom caught a 17-yard pass from Crouch on Nebraska?s first touchdown drive of the game. Wistrom is now all alone in second for career receptions by a Husker tight end as he now has 56 career catches for 1,117 yards. He leads all Husker tight ends in yards. This season, he has 19 catches for 290 yards and two TDs. His 19 catches on the season ties his personal beswt.
* Turnovers...Nebraska had one turnover, Crouch?s interception at the end of the first half, which OU did not convert. Oklahoma had two turnovers, both on interceptions. Senior left cornerback Keyuo Craver recorded his third interception of the season on OU?s first offensive play of the game. He returned the Jason White interception 24 yards to the OU 25, but Nebraska did not convert, punting the ball after three downs. It was Craver?s third pickoff this season, the seventh of his career. The pickoff also marked the second time this season that Nebraska has forced a turnover on the opponent?s first play from scrimmage. Fellow corner Erwin Swiney picked off Nate Hybl on OU?s second play of the second half (no return). It was Swiney?s second interception of the season, the fifth of his career. Nebraska has had at least one interception in every game but two this year. Nebraska began its drive on its own 36 and NU converted the turnover into three points as place-kicker Josh Brown connected on his second field goal of the day (a 26-yarder). NU has now turned 20 turnovers (14 interceptions, six fumbles) into 75 points this year. Nebraska?s Eric Crouch threw an interception with no time remaining on a Hail Mary pass to end the first half. He was picked off by Brandon Everage.
* Corners perform well...DeJuan Groce had five punt returns for 40 yards, including a 33-yard return which set up Brown?s first field goal of the game. The return was Groce?s third this season of 25-yards or more. Groce also had four tackles and one pass breakup. Cornerback Keyuo Craver had an interception, six tackles and one breakup and Erwin Swiney had four tackles and interception and no breakups. Craver is 10 pass breakups behind All-American Ralph Brown, who had 50 from 1996 to 1999 with 40 in his career and 12 on the season and leads the team with three pickoffs. Swiney is third with 38 pass breakups and Groce is fourth all time at NU with 31.
* Punter Kyle Larson...punted a career-high 10 times for 382 yards, an average of 38.2 yards. He had five punts placed inside the 20-yard line, including a career-best 68 yarder. He now has placed 17 punts this season inside the 20 and has 10 punts of 50 yards or more.
* Place-Kicker Josh Brown (Foyil, Okla., native) hit on a 27-yard field goal with 2:36 remaining in the second quarter that gave Nebraska a 10-7 lead. He provided the first scoring of the third quarter on a 26-yard field goal, after Swiney?s interception, that again put the Huskers up by three points (13-10). He has hit on his last four consecutive field goals, is 5-for-7 on the season and has connected on two-or-more field goals in a game eight times in his career. His only miss in the last four games, when he took over as NU?s No. 1 place-kicker, was a 50-yard attempt at Baylor.
* Split End Wilson Thomas had a career best six catches vs. Oklahoma. He totaled 48 yards on his receptions. His previous best was five catches for 83 yards vs. Troy State this season. Thomas has had three or more catches in six games this season.
* More Defense...MLB Jamie Burrow had a career-best 16 tackles, including eight solo stops (previous career best was 11 vs. Notre Dame this season). NU had three sacks in the game for a total of 29 yards lost. Recording sacks for Nebraska was nose tackle Jon Clanton (1-12), MLB Jamie Burrow (1-12) and WLB Mark Vedral and SLB Scott Shanle split a five-yard sack. Nebraska has had at least one sack in every game this season.
* Firsts and Bests...Tight end Kyle Ringenberg made his first career reception, a 19-yard grab from Couch on Nebraska?s second-quarter TD drive. Wingback Troy Hassebroek had a career-long and career-second 28-yard kickoff return at the end of the first half. True freshman wingback Mike Stuntz threw his first career pass, a 63-yard strike to quarterback Eric Crouch. Stuntz has touched the ball twice, and both have been plays of 25 yards or more (also a 25-yard run vs. Rice). The play came on a reverse from I-back Thunder Collins. Stuntz was recruited as a quarterback, but moved to wingback for this season.
* Team Highs and Lows...Nebraska Lows: 20 points scored (precious low 21 vs. TCU); first downs 13 (16 vs. TCU, Notre Dame); rushing attempts 44 (50 TCU). Nebraska Highs: None; Opponent Highs: None; Opponent Lows: None
* Other...752 credentials were issued for the game, the most since 717 were issued this season for the Notre Dame game, but not a record (950 were issued (including all staff passes) for the No. 1 vs. No. 2 Nebraska vs. Oklahoma game in 1987.