Memorial Stadium, Lincoln — A couple of substitute right halfbacks carried Oklahoma to a 14-13 victory over Nebraska here Saturday.
And with it went co-ownership of the Big Six Conference championship. Kansas shared laurels for the second straight season with a 20-14 triumph over Missouri in the day’s other loop finale.
28 thousand fans braved sub-freezing temperature to see the underdog Huskers make a great bid and miss a deadlock when one extra point kick was a few feet wide.
The sub halfbacks who were the Sooner men-of-the-hour were George Thomas and Dave Wallace.
Fast-stepping Mr. Thomas made touchdowns on runs of 11 and two yards. Wallace came off the bench to boot both extra-point kicks.
And those 14 points were just enough to squeeze out a Nebraska team which scored on two plays from well out on the field.
The well-bundled fans forgot their chilled feet when Cletus Fischer ran 60 yards after intercepting a pass in the second period.
And they warmed up again in the third period when Dick Thompson threw a 27-yard scoring pass to Alex Cochrane.
Those maneuvers would have produced a deadlock except for one faulty kick by Bob Patton, Nebraska’s extra-point specialist.
His first boot was just outside of the uprights and the miss didn’t seem too important at that moment.
Because Fischer’s brilliant run had give Nebraska a 6-0 lead.
Jack Mitchell had made the throw into dangerous territory. Fischer, the St. Edward six-man grad, came up fast to intercept on the dead run.
He kept right on down the east sidelines, as Jack Pesek contributed a timely block.
About 20 yards from the end zone, Mitchell seemed to have the Husker scooter trapped. But Cletus stepped on the brakes, changed his direction and ran untouched across the final line.
That scoring made the Sooners suddenly came to life. In less than four minutes they turned a 6-0 deficit into a 7-6 halftime lead.
After the kickoff following the Husker score they marched 74 yards in seven plays.
Charley Sarratt ran left end for 30 yards, and Thomas skirted the other wing for 26 to the 14-yard line.
Tom Novak, who had one of his best days on defense, stopped a couple of thrusts, and then Thomas evaded him to go the rest of the way.
He was so intent on getting points that he dragged Bill Moomey the last four yards into the end zone.
And Wallace’s kick sent coach Bud Wilkinson’s visitors ahead.
A momentary mental lapse on the part of the Huskers paved the way for the second Oklahoma scoring early in the third period.
On the second-half kickoff, Paul Burris’ boot was short. It dropped and bounded a few times right in front of Cochrane and Moomey.
Each thought the other was going to cover the ball, or forgot for a second that a kickoff is a free ball.
They stood there as the alert Thomas cuddled around the ball on the Husker 29-yard line.
It was Oklahoma’s ball, of course — and they went the 29 yards to score in five plays. Thomas made the last two yards — and didn’t stop until he buried his nose in the snow which bordered the field.
It didn’t seem needed at that point but Wallace calmly added the second extra point to give Oklahoma an eight-point lead.
It was fortunate that he made that kick, because within six minutes Nebraska had scored again.
Fischer’s return of the kickoff to near midfield was followed by a roughing penalty on the Sooners. And soon Nebraska was on the 27-yard line.
Thompson was given good protection as he faded back to pass. He waited until tall Cochrane broke into the clear back of Thomas.
Then Dick put the ball right on the Ord wing’s fingers. Alex caught it on the run and jogged over for a touchdown.
This time Patton’s kick cut the margin to a single point.
But the Huskers had no more scoring opportunities. In fact, they had their hands full keeping Oklahoma from adding points in the last quarter.
Once Nebraska took the ball on downs on the 2-yard line, and three other times they forced Royal to make short punts for the coffin corner.
Oklahoma won the game, but most fans agreed that the Huskers won an individual argument.
Center Tom Novak’s incredibly-powerful tackling overshadowed the strong play of his pivot rival, John Rapacz.
Rans went home feeling sure that sophomore Novak is better right now than senior Rapacz, who is going to make lots of All-America teams this year.
Nebraska is 38-45 all-time against Oklahoma.
|Iowa State||Oct. 11|
|Notre Dame||Oct. 18|
|Kansas State||Oct. 25|
|Oregon State||Nov. 29|
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