Marc Hansen column: 1987 Nebraska vs. Oklahoma football
MARC HANSEN Just another Big 8 game LINCOLN, NEB. Oklahoma-Ne braska is turning out to be a great ri . valry the way the major league All Star Game is a great rivalry. The way the Rose Bowl is a great rivalry. The way criminal against victim is a great rivalry. The way hunter against innocent forest animal is a great rivalry. Oklahoma, 17-7 winner of Satur day’s Game of the Century II, has taken this greatest of all college foot ball rivalries and turned it into gasp another Big Eight game. At least this one was. The top-ranked Cornhuskers put on their red and while uniforms and turned into Iowa State. The Sooners, whose fight song should include the word fumble, ventured into Nebraska territory six additional times with nothing to show for it. When was the last time a team fumbled eight times, as the Sooners did Saturday, and lost by 10 to a team that didn’t fumble at all? TOM OSBORNE, the low-key Ne braska coach, called it a “butt kick ing,” and he was right. “They didn’t have much trouble moving the football,” he said. “They are not going to have trouble moving the football. Miami is in for trouble, If Oklahoma can fumble eight times and still beat the top-ranked team in the country, what hope does Miami have in the Orange Bowl? Lots, actually, but that’s another game. This one wasn t even a game, In the old days, the Sooners’ speed and strength won out over Nebraska’s strength and lack of speed, So Ne braska went shopping in California and other parts of the country more conducive to the growing of avocados and happy-footed running backs. The Huskers looked for speed and got more losses to go with it. . That’s four in a row for the Sooners pow and 13 of the last 17 since Game of the Century I back in 1971. While last year’s 20-17 Oklahoma victory broke hearts across Nebraska, this one merely produced headaches. “Of all the losses I’ve been associated with,” Osborne said, “this may be the most disappointing.” The Huskers were outgained 434 yards to 235. The score could have been 27-7 or 37-7. It wasn’t as close as it looked, and it didn’t look like anything you’d want to frame. THE BEST two teams in the country completed eight passes: Nebraska six, Oklahoma two. In fact, the Huskers completed more passes to the Sooners than the Sooners completed to themselves. The best team in the country is a team that can’t execute a forward pass. Maybe this tells us something about misplaced strategical priorities and what really wins football games. Or maybe it tells us that the Sooners operate in another world, in another dimension. Watching them try to throw the football is like watching a golfer with a creaky swing. It almost hurts to look. And you never know where the ball’s going to end up. For the most part, Oklahoma receivers an oxymoron if ever there was one are hood ornaments. But who cares? It wasn’t offense that won this game. It was Oklahoma’s defense. When they shut down the rest of the Big Eight everyone said, great, but the rest of the Big Eight is perfectly capable of shutting down all by itself.