The Nebraska Cornhuskers watched a 17-0 lead disappear in the Big 12 Championship as an Oklahoma Sooner field goal in the fourth quarter was the difference in a 23-20 loss for NU in the Big 12 title game.
My biggest fear all season with this team was turnovers and on Saturday night it reared it’s ugly head again in Arlington, TX. The Sooners, led by Travis Lewis who had an interception in the end zone and recovered two fumbles, helped cash in on Husker mistakes.
Roy Helu Jr., who put the Huskers on top in the first quarter with a 66 yard touchdown run, coughed up the ball twice. Once on his own and the other in a bad exchange with Rex Burkhead.
Landry Jones threw for 342 yards and a touchdown and also sneaked in for another score from 1 yard out as the Sooners made the second biggest comeback in Big 12 championship history.
This game wasn’t about the Sooners winning. It was more about the Huskers losing, by squandering that 17-0 lead. Taylor Martinez was not the same quarterback we’ve seen. I’m not sure if it was the bad toe or ankle or if he was just rusty, but he was only 12 of 24 for 143 yards with the pick on the end zone, which was just an ill-advised throw, going back across his body.
Then late in the game, Martinez took a sack that knocked Alex Henery out of field goal range. Earlier in the game, he hit a Big 12 title game record 53 yarder. He also connected on a 42 yarder that gave NU a 20-17 halftime lead.
For the most part, the defense did their job again, holding Oklahoma to 112 rushing yards, including just 68 for DeMarco Murray. Plus the Blackshirts limited OU to 1 of 16 on third down conversions.
Nebraska got to that 17-0 lead as mentioned on Helu Jr.’s long run, Henery’s FG and a 5 yard touchdown pass from Burkhead to Kyler Reed out of the wildcat. The last score came after Pelini made a successful challenge and had Courtney Osborne’s fumble overturned. After Osborne picked off a deflected pass from Jones, he was stripped deep inside OU territory by Ryan Broyles, but Osborne’s knee was down.
Oklahoma answered right back with Jones’ 49 yard TD strike to Kenny Stills, and Lewis came up with an interception in the end zone against Martinez and then scooped up Helu’s fumble to set up a field goal and Jones’ touchdown run 58 seconds apart for the Sooners.
Nebraska misses out on another BCS game for the second year in a row.