NORMAN, Okla- The mere mention of Oklahoma and Nebraska In one statement it brings back dozens of memories for many college football fans.
At the height of the rivalry between 1970 and 2000, both programs combined to win nine national championships, five for Nebraska and four for Oklahoma.
Their matches each year usually sent the winner to the Orange Bowl to play for the national title.
Their most famous duel is the so-called “Game of the Century”, held 50 years ago, when the number one seed, Nebraska, beat two, Oklahoma, in 1971.
This Saturday, Oklahoma, third-placed (2-0), will host Nebraska (2-1) in what is the first meeting between the two programs since 2010.
“I think there has been a lot of anticipation, and with good reason,” said the Oklahoma coach, Lincoln riley. “This is one of the greatest rivalries in history or one of the most influential rivalries. To have the opportunity to relive that game here, this year is a great opportunity. “
Nebraska’s head coach, Scott Frost, he played quarterback for the Cornhuskers who beat the Sooners in 1996 and 1997. He knows very well what this rivalry meant before Nebraska left the Big 12 for the Big Ten.
“This has been my favorite day of the year all my life,” he said. “One of the best rivalries in American football. It’s a shame he’s gone, but it’s going to be special that he’s back. “
Riley has spent time teaching his players about the history of rivalry. Fans have helped fill in the blanks.
“I think the only thing that makes him weird is the response you get on social media,” Oklahoma tight end Jeremiah Hall said. “I’m still trying to understand what it means for the community.”
Nebraska has struggled in recent years and many fans are unhappy with Frost. But just like the old days, a win over Oklahoma would make things better immediately.
And just like the old days, Oklahoma’s greatness provides an opportunity. Heisman Trophy contending quarterback Spencer Rattler leads a team hoping to make the playoffs. The Sooners are coming off a 76-0 victory over Western Carolina.
“They have some of the most talented players in the country in almost every position,” Frost said. “But I don’t want our guys to be intimidated by that, and I don’t think they will.”
The challenge called Adrián Martínez
Riley said Nebraska quarterback Adrian Martinez will be as dangerous as any of the others the Sooners face this season. Martinez is ranked 13th nationally with 328 yards of total offense per game. He has 256 yards rushing in three games and averaging 7.5 yards per carry.
“His athleticism stands out on the field,” Riley said. “It seems to me that it has improved and the things that it does when it goes off the script make it really good.”
Martinez and Oklahoma linebacker Caleb Kelly were teammates at Clovis West High School in Fresno, California. Kelly said they have talked about the game.
“We meet in May,” Kelly said. “He was like, like he wasn’t trying to talk about it, but he was also looking forward to it, so I was challenging him a bit.”
The Nebraska-Oklahoma connection
Oklahoma defensive end Reggie Grimes mother Mikaela grew up in Omaha and raced for Nebraska before moving to Alabama. She has explained what the Nebraska-Oklahoma games were all about.
“She mentions it for what it is,” he said. “It is a historical rivalry. Very important to college football itself. She grew up as a Cornhusker. His entire family were Cornhuskers. “
“Now they are OU fans because of me,” he said.
Nebraska and its defensive effectiveness
Nebraska’s defense has looked a bit like the dominant units of yesteryear over the past two weeks. The Huskers limited Fordham to seven points and Buffalo to three, marking the first time Nebraska has limited opponents to single-digit points in consecutive games since 2010.
“If you look at the videos from last year and this year they’ve really gotten better,” Riley said. “I think it is a much better unit and they are playing at a high level.”
Nebraska catcher Samori Toure already has 308 receiving yards this season, second in the national level, and had two 68-yard touchdown receptions last week against Buffalo. He has surpassed 100 yards in each of the last two games.