Sooners Snag Seventh Big 12 Title

ARLINGTON, Texas — In the end, it's the same old school that's won the majority of the rest of the Big 12 Titles, as OU battled back to defeat the Nebraska Cornhuskers 23-20 Saturday night in front of a record crowd of 78,810 at Cowboys Stadium.

"It's really special," said OU head coach Bob Stoops. "I feel fortunate to be with these kids and these schools. And beating Nebraska, like this, in this game? Are you kidding? It's just great to get another championship."

It was possible because of a major rally after the ‘Huskers jumped on the Sooners 17-0 out of the gates.

Quarterback Landry Jones found wide receiver Kenny Stills for a 49-yard touchdown toss to cut the deficit to 17-7 early in the second quarter.

With 2:35 remaining in the half, place kicker Jimmy Stevens cut it to 17-10 with a 26-yard field goal.

NU then fumbled on its own 31-yard line.

"We knew they carry the football very loosely and we wanted to attack the football and be very violent going after the football and we get great results," said defensive coordinator Brent Venables. "We had to win the line of scrimmage and the turnover battle. That was the game."

That was one of four Cornhusker turnovers, and it put OU in prime position to tie it up.

And tie it up they did, when Jones scored on a 1-yard sneak after hitting Stills for a 30-yard pass a play earlier.

In the meantime, OU's defense was stifling after spotting NU 17 points.

It came up with seven sacks for a loss of 48 yards in the contest, three of which were by defensive tackle Pryce Macon after unofficially it was said to be five.

"I didn't know I had five sacks," Macon said. "Thank you, I'll take it. Coaches told us to finish. Nothing else to do but do that."

And it allowed only three points over the final 42:14.

Those came right before the half as NU place kicker Alex Henery hit a 42-yard attempt to give the ‘Huskers a 20-17 advantage at intermission.

The only six points the rest of the way went to the Sooners.

After Stevens botched a 24-yard attempt early in the second half, he was true on a 20-yarder, notching things up at 20.

He gave OU the lead for good when he converted on a 27-yard attempt with 8:28 left, and the defense did the rest.

Cornerback Demontre Hurst sealed the deal when he batted down NU's last gasp pass.

"I was just anticipating," Hurst said. "I knew where they were gonna go, and I tried to make a good play. I made a good play...and we're Big 12 Champions."

NU struck first when, after OU failed to convert an early fourth-and-5, running back Roy Helu Jr. busted loose for a 66-yard touchdown run to make it 7-0.

Henery nailed a 53-yarder a couple minutes later to go up two scores.

Early in the second quarter came one of the game's many big moments.

Cornhusker strong safety Courtney Osborne picked off a Jones pass, then appeared to cough it up on the return, but NU challenged the play, and it was overturned, allowing the ‘Huskers to set up shop just outside the 10.

They capitalized soon after when wide receiver Rex Burkhead hit tight end Kyler Reed on a 5-yard touchdown pass out of the wildcat formation.

That was the final touchdown for NU, as the Sooner defense clamped down.

"With the way our defense plays, our offense is never out of the game," Jones said. "I can't say enough about what Nebraska's defense does and it's offense does."

OU out-gained NU 454-293 and had only one turnover to four for the ‘Huskers.

Jones finished 23-of-41 for 342 yards and a touchdown along with an interception, while quarterback Taylor Martinez was 12-of-24 for 143 yards and had an interception along with a fumble in NU's losing cause.

Stills had three catches for 83 yards and a touchdown, and running back DeMarco Murray rushed for 68 yards on 17 carries.

For Nebraska, running back Roy Helu Jr. had 91 yards on 11 touches.

OU moves on to play in the Fiesta Bowl on New Year's Day.

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