Nebraska 35
Oklahoma 31

Nov. 25, 1971
Owen Field | Norman, OK | ABC
1st 2nd 3rd 4th Total
Nebraska 7 7 14 7 35
Oklahoma 3 14 7 7 31

quotes (1K)In what surely must stand as one of the most stirring dramas in the 102 years of college football, Nebraska’s magnificent Cornhuskers asserted their right to the national championship by driving 74 yards in the final minutes to defeat top challenger Oklahoma, 35-31, here Thursday at Owen Field. The teams were 1-2, the pollsters said, and there was nothing in the conduct of the game or in the final accounting to refute that estimate.”
Wally Provost, Omaha World-Herald

1st Qtr.
NU: Johnny Rodgers 72 punt return (Rich Sanger kick) 11:28
OU: John Carroll 30 field goal 5:53
2nd Qtr.
NU: Jeff Kinney 1 run (Sanger kick) 11:08
OU: Jack Mildren 3 run (Carroll kick) 5:10
OU: Jon Harrison 24 pass from Mildren (Carroll kick) 0:28
3rd Qtr.
NU: Kinney 3 run (Sanger kick) 8:54
NU: Kinney 1 run (Sanger kick) 3:38
OU: Mildren 3 run (Carroll kick) 0:28
4th Qtr.
OU: Harrison 16 pass from Mildren (Carroll kick) 7:10
NU: Kinney 2 run (Sanger kick) 1:38

                            NU        OU
First downs ............... 19        22
 By rushing ............... 15        16
 By passing ................ 4         6
 By penalty ................ 0         0
Rushes-yards .......... 59-297    64-279
Net passing yards ......... 65       188
 Comp.-Att.-Int. ...... 6-13-0    6-11-0
Total offense ......... 72-362    75-467
Punts-Avg. ............ 5-36.4    2-34.0
Punt returns ............ 2-80       1-7
Fumbles-lost ............. 1-1       5-3
Penalties-yards .......... 1-5       0-0

RUSHING
NU: Kinney 31-171, Tagge 17-49, Rodgers 4-27, Olds 4-22, Damkroger 3-23, Dixon 1-2.

OU: Mildren 31-130, Pruitt 10-53, Wiley 3-11, Crosswhite 12-59, Welch 8-26.

PASSING
NU: Tagge 6-12-0—65, Rodgers 0-1-0—0.
OU: Mildren 5-10-0—137, Harrison 1-1-0—51.

RECEIVING
NU: Rodgers 5-61, Kinney 1-4.
OU: Harrison 4-115, Chandler 2-73.

TACKLING LEADERS*
NU: Glover 3-19-22, Terrio 4-13-17, Jacobson 2-12-14, Blahak 5-8-13.

OU: Driscoll 5-6-11, Aycock 2-9-11, Selmon 1-9-10, Pope 6-3-9.

*unassisted-assisted-total


Attendance: 63,385

Embed from Getty Images

Coverage

'Game of the Century'
Kinney

Huskers edge Sooners in thriller

It was billed as the “Game of the Decade” and came across as the “Game of the Century.” The Cornhuskers twice came from behind in the second half to pull out a sensational 35-31 victory over Oklahoma and maintain their No. 1 national ranking.

No. 2-ranked Oklahoma, led by a great quarterbacking job from wishbone artist Jack Mildren, gave the Huskers a magnificent battle before becoming Nebraska’s 21st straight victim.

Johnny Rodgers provided the lightning to ignite Nebraska to an early 7-0 lead with a 72-yard punt return, but it was the quarterbacking of Jerry Tagge and the running of Jeff Kinney that sparked the final drive after the Black Shirts — spearheaded by Rich Glover and Outland Trophy winner Larry Jacobson — had blunted but not stopped the wishbone.

With 7:10 left in the game, Oklahoma took the lead, 31-28, and then the Cornhuskers went to work. Helped by a key third-down reception by Rodgers, the Huskers marched 74 yards in 12 plays for the winning TD. In the final 1:38 remaining for the Sooners, the Black Shirts stopped them cold.

Game stories
Omaha World-Herald:
1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6  |  Photos
Box  |  PDFs: 1, 2
Lincoln Star: 1, 2
Lincoln Journal: 1, 2, 3
AP | UPI
Daily Nebraskan (2001)
Tulsa World: 2001, 2015
ESPN Classic: 1, 2
Kinney interview (2004)
2011 memories: Al Austin
Hail Varsity (2015)
Multimedia
Rodgers’ return: Video (1, 2)
Audio, Photos (1, 2, 3)
Pregame & team info

SI cover

 

Rosters: NU | OU
1971 results: NU | OU

Commentary

Kindred

They can quit playing now, they have played the perfect game.

Dave Kindred
Louisville Courier-Journal
Jenkins

The cerebral types ... will keep playing it into the ages and wondering whether it was the greatest collegiate football battle ever. Under the agonizing conditions that existed, it well may have been.

Sports Illustrated
Bremser

Oh, man, woman and child, I never thought I would live this long to see this kind of a football game.

KFAB Radio
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