Sooners cornerback D.J. Graham leaped to grab an interception just before the fourth quarter’s midway, the most spectacular catch by an OU defensive back in years.
The grab prompted a chorus of “ooohs” and “aahs” from the crowd and a flurry of reactions on social media, but it wasn’t in the Sooners’ favor for Graham to complete the catch.
Graham’s interception occurred on 4th and 17 from the Sooners’ 24-yard line.
OU would have possessed the ball if Graham had knocked it to the ground.
Instead, the Sooners began from their own 3-yard line and were forced to punt from there.
With 5:38 left in the game, Nebraska football began the following drive on the OU 38, and three plays later, Adrian Martinez connected with Omar Manning for a 21-yard touchdown to reduce the Sooners’ lead to 23-16.
‘Let’s go out and do it,’ Jeff Kinney said after scoring four touchdowns in the Game of the Century.
Big-time special teams play
After Adrian Martinez’s 4-yard touchdown reduced the Sooners’ lead to four in the final seconds of the third quarter, Isaiah Coe came up with a huge play that helped OU take the lead.
Coe pushed his way through the line, lifted his hands, and swatted the ball, which landed about a yard deep in the end zone and flew back to Pat Fields.
Fields received the ball just inside the left hash marks and quickly ran wide to the sidelines before going upfield.
Fields were scooped up by Justin Broiles and Jaden Davis, who were shortly joined by Shane Whitter and D.J. Graham in escorting Fields to the other end zone for a two-point convert.
It was Oklahoma’s first defensive two-point convert since Robert Barnes recovered an interception for conversion against Texas Tech in 2018.
Since Zack Sanchez’s conversion return against TCU in 2013, the Sooners have not returned a blocked kick for a touchdown.
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Sluggish first half
The Sooners got out to a fast start offensively, with a 14-play, 75-yard drive that concluded with Spencer Rattler scoring on a 1-yard run.
Rattler was impressive in the drive, completing 7 of 8 throws for 55 yards.
However, OU’s offense struggled the remainder of the game, gaining just 120 yards on their next four first-half possessions.
On two drives, Rattler was 6 of 11 for 50 yards, with 34 of those yards coming on his four completions on the Sooners’ last drive of the half, when they received the ball back at their own 10 with only 57 seconds remaining.
OU scored seven points in the first half for the first time since a 3-3 draw against Ohio State on Sept. 9, 2017.
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Honoring the past
At halftime, players and coaches from both teams recognised on the field from the 1971 “Game of the Century.”
The game was timed to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the Cornhuskers’ 35-31 victory on November 25, 1971.
The 50-yard lines on both sides, which are usually painted white on the field, were painted in the schools’ colors – OU’s crimson on the west side and Nebraska’s scarlet on the east side. Both were white-outlined.
The design for the proposed monument commemorating the Selmon brothers — Lucious, Dewey, and Lee Roy — was revealed Friday night during a reunion dinner for players from both teams.
The dedication of the statue is planned for next season.
The game’s OU-Nebraska historical call-backs were not entirely focused on the 1971 contest.
Trae Young, a former Sooner basketball player, stood on the sidelines, sporting a cap from the 1970s/80s and a Malcolm Kelly jersey.
Kelly’s renowned freestyle rap began after OU’s 21-7 victory against the Cornhuskers in the 2006 Big 12 Championship Game.