With 76,015 screaming fans in the stands and millions more watching on national ABC-TV, the Huskers carried the fight to unbeaten and top-ranked Oklahoma to gain a 17-14 upset win. It was the Huskers' ninth straight victory.
It was a hard-hitting defensive effort that caused nine Sooner fumbles—NU recovered six—and a balanced offensive attack, 250 yards rushing and 111 yards passing, that paced the Huskers to their first win over archrival Oklahoma since the 1971 "Game of the Century." The win locked up at least a tie for the conference title and an Orange Bowl berth.
On offense it was the rugged running of senior I-back Rick Berns who carried the ball 25 times for 113 yards and one touchdown.
On defense, it was senior monster back Jim Pillen, with eight tackles and two fumble recoveries, leading the charge. Others turning in fine defensive efforts were linebackers Bruce Dunning and Lee Kunz, defensive end George Andrews and defensive back Jeff Hansen. For their efforts, Berns and Pillen were named offensive and defensive Players of the Game by ABC and Chevrolet. Berns and Pillen also received Big 8 Player of the Week honors.
It wasn't just the individual performances, but a team effort that led the Huskers to a sensational finish which saw Nebraska go ahead, then stave off the Sooners and finally force Billy Sims to fumble at the Nebraska 3-yard line with just 3:27 remaining in the game.
NOTE: In 2009, this game was voted the most memorable of the 300-game home sellout streak. (Link includes video highlights.)
Nov. 11, 1978
Oklahoma 7 0 7 0 - 14 Nebraska 0 7 7 3 - 17 First Quarter OU - Billy Sims 44 run (Uwe von Schamann kick) 8:09 Second Quarter NU - Rick Berns 5 run (Billy Todd kick) 10:06 Third Quarter NU - I.M. Hipp 8 run (Billy Todd kick) 9:25 OU - Billy Sims 30 run (Uwe von Schamann kick) 7:47 Fourth Quarter NU - Billy Todd 24 field goal, 11:51 OU NU First Downs .............. 13 18 Rushes-Net Yds ....... 61-339 62-250 Passing Net ............... 0 111 Comp-Att-Int ........ 0-2-0 8-20-1 Total Offense ........ 63-339 82-361 Average Per Play ........ 5.4 4.4 Fumbles-Lost ............ 9-6 2-1 Penalties-Yards ........ 5-41 5-35 Attendance: 76,015 LEADING NU RUSHERS: Rick Berns 25-113; I.M. Hipp 14-62. LEADING OU RUSHER: Billy Sims, 25-153 LEADING NU PASSER: Tom Sorley 8-19-1. NU OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF GAME: Rick Berns (Big 8 Offensive Player of Week, ABC Chevrolet Offensive Player of Game) NU DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF GAME: Jim Pillen (Big 8 Defensive Player of Week, ABC Chevrolet Defensive Player of Game) 8 tackles and 2 fumble recoveries.