OU-Nebraska Pregame Notes

No. 8 Oklahoma (10-2) and No. 19 Nebraska (9-3) will kick-off at 7:13 p.m. Saturday night at Arrowhead Stadium (pictured) in Kansas City. OU leads the all-time series 42-37-3. See inside for more pregame notes, including quotes from Bob Stoops, Kevin Wilson, Brent Venables and Bill Callahan on the matchup.

Kickoff
7:13 p.m. CST. -- Saturday, Dec. 2, 2006 -- Arrowhead Stadium (79,451) -- Surface: Natural Grass -- Kansas City, Mo.

Television/Media
Saturday's game will be televised nationally by ABC. Mike Patrick (play-by-play), Todd Blackledge (analyst) and Holly Rowe (sideline) will call the game. The game can be heard on the radio in Oklahoma on KOKC 1520 AM. It is also available on Sirius Satellite Radio Channel 155.

Live Stats

The Rankings
The Sooners (10-2, 7-1) are ranked No. 10 in the USA Today/Coaches Poll and No. 8 in the Associated Press Poll. Nebraska (9-3, 6-2) is 18th in the Coaches Poll and 19th in the AP Poll

The Coaches
Oklahoma head coach Bob Stoops is 85-18 in his eighth season in Norman. Nebraska head coach Bill Callahan is 22-14 in his third season in Lincoln. Stoops is 2-0 head-to-head versus Callahan and 3-1 against Nebraska.

The Series
Oklahoma leads the all-time series 42-37-3. The Sooners have won the last two games, but the Huskers have won seven of the last 10 meetings.

Saturday will mark the 24th time in the 83 meetings between the two schools that both teams have come into the game ranked. Interestingly enough, the lower-ranked team has won 11 of the previous 23 meetings in that scenario.

One other interesting series factoid, Oklahoma is averaging 19.3 points per game in the all-time series to Nebraska's 16.5

Last Meeting
Oklahoma knocked off the Cornhuskers, 31-24, on Oct. 29 last year in Lincoln. It was the first time the Sooners had won in Nebraska since 1987.

Adrian Peterson returned from an ankle injury to rush for 146 yards and two touchdowns, including a 36-yard TD run, in the win. Rhett Bomar completed 14 of his 28 pass attempts for 157 yards and Malcolm Kelly had a great day with eight catches for 86 yards.

Oklahoma's defense gave up 267 passing yards to Nebraska quarterback Zac Taylor but still managed to intercept him twice, one of which was returned by Chijioke Onyenegecha 63-yards for a touchdown. The Huskers rushed for just 34 yards on 16 carries.

OU's 31 points were also the most the school had scored in Lincoln since 1955.

OU and Nebraska in the Big 12 Title game
Saturday will mark the fifth appearance in the Big 12 Championship game for Oklahoma and the fourth for Nebraska. Oklahoma is 3-1 in the title game, while the Huskers are 2-1.

After playing for the conference title in three of the first four seasons, the Huskers will be making their first appearance in the championship in six seasons. They lost to Texas in 1996, beat Texas A&M in 1997 and beat the Longhorns in 1999.

The Matchup
The Sooners and Huskers both come into Saturday's title game on winning streaks. OU has won seven straight, while Nebraska have won three in a row.

The two schools share six common opponents with the only the major difference in the outcomes coming from the Cornhuskers' 41-29 loss in Stillwater, while the Sooners were 27-21 winners at Boone Pickens last weekend. Oklahoma and Nebraska also both played at Texas A&M, with each winning by one point. Both schools also played Colorado at home, with OU winning by 21 and the Huskers winning by 23.

The Sooners will come into Saturday's showdown on a nine-game winning streak against Big 12 competition and a 15-game streak against Big 12 North foes.

FSN studio analyst Jackie Sherrill on the matchup
"I think it's great for the Big 12 Conference because it kinda renews the old rivalry between Nebraska and Oklahoma. Years ago, when Nebraska and Oklahoma played it was usually for the championship and this is for the conference championship and the winner gets to go onto the BCS. There's a lot of old memories. I'm sure that Tom Osborne and Barry Switzer will be in the stands.

"The only advantage, well I would say it's a big advantage, is Nebraska has been buying tickets up for over a month now. I would say the stands will be probably 2/3 Nebraska to 1/3 Oklahoma.

"The matchups are can Nebraska handle Oklahoma's speed defensively? That's probably the biggest thing. The second matchup would be can Oklahoma run on the front seven and between the tackles of Nebraska?

"That is probably gonna be the hardest thing to figure out, but we'll know once the game gets started. I do think that Nebraska, because of all the different formations and feeling that they're gonna have to spread Oklahoma out some way, that really falls into the hands of Oklahoma because of their speed compared to what the speed is of Nebraska."

FSN studio analyst Pat Jones on the matchup
"I think this one is stacking up as kinda another tough guy contest. The elements are going to be a factor and I think OU has won the last several of those they've been in. I think that Bedlam was a tough guy contest that OU won, and I think this one with Nebraska will be the same way.

I think OU has a marked talent edge. How much is hard to tell. When I watch Nebraska none of their skill guys really just jump out at me.

They're good players and they've got three backs who have all had their moments. (Maurice) Purify, the receivers, have played well and made some plays. Zac Taylor's had a really solid year, but still they don't just grab you. They don't just jump off the screen at you.

Defensively, it's the same way. They've had their moments one way and at times they look really bad trying to tackle Oklahoma State's skill guys. So I think OU's got the talent edge in this one.

I think it will be more of a factor for Nebraska because I think Allen Patrick and that OU offensive line will pound the ball in there at 'em. And I think Paul Thompson will hit a key throw or two.

About Nebraska
Offensively, the Huskers currently rank 9th nationally in scoring offense (33.92 ppg) and 9th in total offense (434.0 ypg). They are 18th nationally in passing offense (250.75 ypg) and 18th in rushing offense (183.25 ypg).

Defensively, Nebraska is 30th in scoring defense (18.17 ppg) and 71st in total defense (346.75 ypg). They are 48th in rushing defense (126.92 ypg) and 84th in passing defense (219.83 ypg).

Punter Dan Titchener is 56th nationally with a 39.2 average (long of 58). Kicker Jordan Congdon is 5-for-7 on field goals (long of 40) and 52-for-53 on extra points.

Roster | Depth Chart | Stats | Schedule/Results | Notes

About Oklahoma
Offensively, the Sooners currently rank 23rd nationally in scoring offense (30.08 ppg) and 39th in total offense (370.67 ypg). They are 80th in passing offense (182.0 ypg) and 14th in rushing offense (188.67 ypg).

Defensively, Oklahoma is 23rd in scoring defense (16.0 ppg) and 14th nationally and tops in the Big 12 in total defense (273.08 ypg). The Sooners are 19th in rushing defense (99.0 ypg) and 18th in passing defense (174.08 ypg).

Punter Michael Cohen doesn't have enough kicks to qualify for the national rankings, but if he did he would currently sit 25th nationally with a 42.1 average. Mike Knall averages 33.5. Kicker Garrett Hartley is 17-for-18 on field goal attempts (long of 46) and a perfect 42-for-43 on extra points.

Roster | Depth Chart | Stats | Schedule/Results | Notes

OU head coach Bob Stoops on Nebraska
"We're excited to be playing in the championship game here this week against a long rival, a storied Big Eight rival and still a rival with Nebraska. Everybody understands the history there. We even have a current history. Since the Big 12's been formed we've been playing them since we've been here about eight years.

"It's exciting. They're a good football team. Coach (Bill) Callahan and his staff have done an excellent job with their team being 9-3. The noticeable differences this year is they're running the football very effectively and much more often, and have been very successful running it.

"Zac Taylor is an excellent quarterback. I believe (Taylor) is one of the better players in the league in the way he's played through the entire year. I'm very sensitive to say THE best, but I think he's definitely one of the best when you look at his performance through the entire year and what he's done for his team and his efficiency. He's done an excellent job.

"They've got a lot of skill guys, a bunch of tight ends running around and making good plays, good backs, receivers. Defensively, very physical and strong up front when we watch them in defending the run and the way they play, and very sound in their schemes.

"I look at that as they haven't played there all year (on Nebraska's possible home-field edge in Kansas City). We just played KU there last year. I mean, how bad (cold) have their games been this year? I saw them the other day and it looked like they had a sunny, perfect day up in Nebraska playing last week.

"I guess my point is you can say all that, but we don't look at it that way at all. I don't buy that. They're going into a different atmosphere the same as we are, and we've played in cold weather before. We don't much care what the conditions are. At least that's my feeling, and I think it's valid. I don't think it has to matter.

"We always go into those games being prepared for crowd noise. It can't hurt that four of our last five have been on the road. I'm sure we'll have a good number (of fans). More than we would on a road game. We'll prepare for sure to be prepared for it. But again, I just don't look at it that way that it's a true road game. They may have more fans, but in the end we'll have our share. We always do."

OU offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson on Nebraska's Defense
"They're big, strong. Two excellent defensive ends — (Adam) Carriker and Moore. Both of them played last year. Two new D-tackles, but both are seniors who have played a lot. Very solid linebackers. The one linebacker, (Bradley) Stewart, who was injured last year but played against us a year before, is a senior. So it's veteran group. Very sound group.

"A little bit of the umbrella cover-four like Texas Tech and Texas A&M. They pick their spots to blitz and then on critical downs they like to come at you with the things they do. They play good, solid run defense, put a lot of pressure on the quarterback — 25 sacks.

"They look — structure-wise, talent-wise, maturity — better than the defense we saw a year ago where our game went down to the wire. It will be as good and solid defense as we've played other than maybe Texas' overall team speed. They'll probably be as solid a defense as we've seen all year."

OU defensive coordinator Brent Venables on "Nebraska's Offense
They throw the ball really well. As well as they run it, they throw it even better. We haven't lost site of that either. The West Coast offense is going to have balance and they're going to do both, so we'll need to prepare and play well against both.

"They get in a lot of two-backs and run the ball. A lot of two-tight end, three-tight end, even some four-tight end sets. They're going to get leverage on you, angles, pull, student body left and right. And then they get in four-wides and run it effectively too in their spread offense. They really attack you in the run game.

"Tremendous player, great leader, tough (on Husker QB Zac Taylor). As much as anything else, he's tough. He can wing the ball and throws it all over the lot. You can see why they've had success as a team with him as their leader."

NU head coach Bill Callahan on Oklahoma
"We're excited to be in this arena playing Oklahoma, a team that we respect greatly. It's a game with great tradition and it should be a lot of fun for our players on Saturday night.

"They've done very, very well to change gears when their quarterback went down and (OU starting quarterback Paul) Thompson has just been incredible. He's done a great job just managing their offense, making plays. He's very efficient as a thrower. Of course, they've had the ability to just get their team better each week. Week-in and week-out you see their team improving, and I think that's the mark of an outstanding coach – getting your team ready to play and showing a weekly improvement. I think they've done that."

"The big thing is their ability to run the football with the physical nature of their attack. They are a downhill running team, very similar to an old Big Ten football team. Dotting the "I", coming downhill, trying to run the power counter, some misdirection off of it, but by and large they are coming downhill. You have to give them a lot credit. Their ability to play at a high tempo, play with good speed, and play hard, that's the thing that you notice on film. That's really their trait, that they are a very physical running football team. So that will be a challenge to our front, a challenge to our players."

"I'm looking at Oklahoma's defense and by gosh they are solid across the board. You look at every statistical area that has to do with defensive football and they've excelled. The thing that you find about the study of their defense is that they are efficient. They're athletic. They're disciplined. They have great gap control and they know how to apply pressure within their package. It's an interesting challenge for our team and our staff, they are very well-versed in what they are trying to get accomplished on the field. They've had tremendous success with a lot of good athletes.

"We're just focused on doing our best. I think that's all you can ask these kids to do. They're excited. I think both of these programs are excited about this opportunity. It would be great if we win. That's what we came here for – we came here to win and to be in championship games. This is what this game is all about. It's been some time since both teams have lined up for the conference championship. I'm a traditionalist, I respect tradition, I respect the Oklahoma program, and I really look forward to this game."


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