By Michael Kinney
The Norman Transcript
ARLINGTON — No matter the outcome, a rivalry was coming to an end Saturday. Whether Oklahoma or Nebraska walked home with the Big 12 Championship, the two longtime rivals would not play another conference game against each other for the foreseeable future.
The only question that remained was whether Oklahoma would let the Cornhuskers leave with a conference title under its arm or with the memory of the Sooners holding up the championship trophy. With more than 78,000 fans on hand at Cowboys Stadium, the No. 9 Sooners knocked off No. 13 Nebraska 23-20.
It’s a game OU fans will remember for a while.
“Well, I’ve been a fan of Oklahoma for as long as I can remember,” Anthony Morrison said. “Back in the ’80s when we used to rule the Big 8, back when the OU-Nebraska rivalry was huge. The wishbone, Charles Thompson, The Boz, etc. ... I think the fact that Nebraska is about to leave the Big 12, winning this game is huge for all OU fans.”
While some fans were more concerned about the history of the series, others felt the victory meant more because of the way this season had gone.
“I think it’s special for Oklahoma because of the up-and-down year we have had,” Lane Farr said. “With being ranked No. 1, then losing it the next week, it vindicates our season by winning the last game of the Big 12 with our longtime arch-rival Nebraska.”
Oklahoma holds an (45-38-3) edge in the all-time series between two of the nation’s winning-est programs. The Huskers won last year 10-3 and seemed poised to take it again this year before the Sooners made a second-half comeback.
Trey Homsey felt the same way. For the final game between the two programs to come down to a nailbiter was more than any football fan could ask for.
“It’s unbelievable to win the last big game between OU and Nebraska,” Homsey said. “Over the huge history they have had, it’s unbelievable. In our opinion, this is our biggest BCS game that we could play. This is our bowl game.”
It’s the Sooners’ seventh Big 12 Championship in 11 years and 43rd overall conference title in the program’s history. They also clinched a spot in the Fiesta Bowl on Jan. 1 against the Big East champion.
“It will help with recruits, since a lot of the teams in the Big 12 have been playing better and getting a better crop of recruits,” Farr said. “Stoops needed a big game win and a title, as well.”
For Matt Burden, winning the Big 12 title was nice, but it means more because it was against Nebraska.
“It’s unbelievable ’cause I can rub it in this guy’s face for the rest of the night,” Burden said of his friend, dressed in Cornhusker gear. “This will be the last night I can do it in person, but over the phone and through texts, I will definitely give it to him. It’s awesome. It’s a great tradition. We played against Nebraska. What more could you want? Last Big 12 championship, two best teams ever to play in it. It’s awesome.”