Tyrone Legette battles a Sooner for a pass.
All in all, Nebraska’s 45-10 loss to unranked Oklahoma may have been the worst afternoon in the modern history of Cornhusker football.
The 10th-ranked (AP) Huskers went into the nationally televised game (CBS) on the day after Thanksgiving as the nation’s top rushing team at 362.2 yards per game and needed just 170 yards to win a third-straight NCAA title. NU managed a season-low 118, to go with season lows of 10 points and 229 total-offense yards. I-back Leodis Flowers was held to 13 rushing yards on nine carries, and came up 60 yards short of a 1,000 yard season.
The Huskers went into the game ranked third in the NCAA in scoring defense (10.2 points per game) and sixth in total defense (250.2 yards per game), but yielded their most points in 22 years (the seventh-most ever) and gave up 396 total-offense yards. NU had given up just 18 turnovers, including a mere four interceptions, in its first nine games, but turned the ball over to the Sooners eight times, including four interceptions, each figure one under the school single-game records.
“I have to say it was one of our poorer performances in my 28 years at Nebraska,” Husker Coach Tom Osborne said. “I’m totally embarrassed. I have to take the blame for that performance.”
Adding to the Huskers’ gloom was the loss of starting quarterback Mickey Joseph six minutes into the game. The junior had just picked up 13 yards on third-and-8 from the NU 33, but was hit out of bounds on the Oklahoma sidelines at the end of the play, slid into an aluminum bench, and suffered a severe laceration to his lower right leg. His calf muscles were cut to the bone, and he required a one-and-a-half hour surgery that night in Lincoln to repair the damage.