So Long, Big 8: Nebraska, 37-0
BY Dan O'Kane
Nov 25, 1995
LINCOLN, Neb. -- This week the country reflected on the 1960s due
to ABC's three-part series on the Beatles.
On Friday, the Sooners caused people to look back to the same
decade and an 11-part series.
The year 1965 especially comes to mind following Oklahoma's
37-0 loss to top-ranked Nebraska in a historic Big Eight Conference
finale before a nationally televised audience and 75,662 at
It's the first time since 1965 that the Sooners, who lost 12-0
to Oklahoma State last week, have been shut out in consecutive
games. Thirty years ago they lost 10-0 to Navy and 19-0 to Texas in
The Sooners' five losses this season are the most since going
3-7 in 1965 under Gomer Jones.
OU's 2-5 Big Eight record is its first losing league record
The usual problems of a disappointing season again plagued the
Sooners on Friday.
Turnovers (two of OU's three were returned for touchdowns),
penalties (nine for 97 yards) and a
blown assignment in the secondary led to the Sooners' worst loss to
the Cornhuskers since 1928 when NU won 44-6.
The offense was limited again.
OU's point production has declined in every game since
defeating Iowa State 39-26. The Sooners scored 24 points against
Texas, 17 vs. Kansas, 13 vs. Missouri and 10 vs. Kansas State
before back-to-back shutouts. They were scoreless in the final 10
quarters of the season.
It's a big reason why the Sooners have lost four of their last
five games and are 2-5-1 since opening the season 3-0 and ranked in
the top 10.
``You can't put the ball in the end zone unless you're a great
football team with the number of penalties we had and obviously the
(turnovers),'' OU coach Howard Schnellenberger said.
The Sooners close Schnellenberger's first season 5-5-1 and 2-5
in the Big Eight. They close the final Big Eight season -- four
Texas schools have been added to what will become the Big 12 in
1996 -- with their worst record since the league went to eight
teams in 1959. They were 2-4-1 in 1960.
Meanwhile, Nebraska (11-0, 7-0 Big Eight) won its 24th
consecutive game and completed its third consecutive unbeaten
regular season. The Cornhuskers will play for the national
championship Jan. 2 in the Fiesta Bowl. They already clinched their
fifth consecutive Big Eight title.
``I was probably more apprehensive about this game than any
game we've played in a long time and that includes Colorado,
K-State and KU just because I felt they had good athletes and
because I thought the Oklahoma State game would really focus
them,'' NU coach Tom Osborne said.
``I've never known an Oklahoma team that didn't play Nebraska
hard at the end of the year.''
The defense gave the Sooners an opportunity.
The Huskers ended up with 271 yards rushing, but 106 of that
came in the fourth quarter when the outcome was obvious. The
Huskers added 14 points, including a touchdown in the final minute
to cover the spread. The game, however, was closer.
Quarterback and Heisman Trophy candidate Tommie Frazier was not
much of a factor. He completed 12-of-25 for 128 yards and threw an
interception while running for 36 yards on 10 carries.
``I really believe that (Oklahoma's) front seven is the best
that we've played this year,'' Osborne said.
It was just 13-0 near the midway mark of the third quarter
with the Sooners looking like they might make it interesting.
OU crossed midfield for only the third time when halfback
James Allen was stripped of the ball by linebacker Jared Tomich.
Free safety Tony Veland scooped it up and returned it 57 yards for
a back-breaking touchdown.
``Obviously midway through the third quarter, the chances of
winning the football game began to slip away from us,''
Schnellenberger said. ``And it slipped away because of the
continuing inability of our football team to play closer to
error-free than we have been playing.''
Veland's touchdown was the second scored by the NU defense.
On OU's first possession, linebacker Jamel Williams
intercepted an overthrown pass by redshirt freshman quarterback
Eric Moore. Williams returned it 36 yards for a touchdown, putting
the Sooners in a 10-0 hole before the game was seven minutes old.
Even a change in quarterbacks didn't help put points on the
Senior Garrick McGee, from Tulsa, was inserted during OU's
first drive of the second quarter after sitting out the Oklahoma
State game. With McGee at the controls, OU moved the ball better
than it had with Moore in the first quarter -- one first down,
minus 24 yards rushing and seven yards total offense in 10 plays.
McGee ended up playing the final three quarters and finished
15-of-30 for 159 yards with one interception in his longest stretch
of playing time this season.
``(McGee) had made some plays and I elected to let him finish
out the quarter,'' Schnellenberger said. ``At halftime, reflecting
on what had happened in the first half of the game, I felt our best
chance to win was to stay with Garrick.''
The problem against the Huskers wasn't the passing attack, but
the ground game.
The Sooners finished with a season-low 51 yards rushing.
Fullback Jerald Moore had only 39 yards on 14 carries. OU's longest
gain on the ground was 12 yards.
``They were playing an eight-man front and had the safety
up,'' said Jerald Moore, who finished the season with 1,001 yards.
``It made it hard to run the ball, but it opened up the pass.''
The 37-point loss was the final blow in what has been a
difficult first year for Schnellenberger.
``Today, there were two teams out there battling,''
Schnellenberger said. ``One has the capacity to put plays together
and make good things happen, although they only did it late in the
game. Our football team played give-away throughout the year and
that was the story again today.''