Thurman Thomas had a Hall of Fame career as a running back for the Buffalo Bills. He played in four Super Bowls and five pro-bowls. Before that, he was a trash-talking All-American running back at Oklahoma State.
Thomas’ first experience against the Huskers was in a 34-24 NU win in which he tallied 71 yards on 22 carries and scored on a third-quarter two-yard touchdown run that pulled the Cowboys within 3 points of Nebraska. Not a huge day, but not a horrible one either. The Cowboys were ranked fifth nationally going into the game and the Huskers ninth. Much like the Super Bowl, it would be all downhill from the first game.
A year later, the third-ranked Huskers hosted the Cowboys for homecoming. Led by All-American nose guard Danny Noonan (an animal of a player who was double-teamed more times in his career than Jenna Jameson), NU held Thomas to just 38 yards on 22 carries and the OSU offense was held without a touchdown in a 30-10 Husker win. Yet that might still be considered a high point compared to what was to come.
Some words were exchanged between the players prior to the 1987 contest and Thurman Thomas was right in the middle of it. The twelfth-ranked Cowboys were hosting the second-ranked Huskers and as the nation’s leading rusher Thomas wasn’t content to do his talking on the field. Led by Broderick “The Sandman” Thomas and Neil Smith Nebraska blanked OSU in a 35-0 rout. Thomas managed only 7 yards on 9 carries. The Huskers had not only the last laugh, but pretty much every laugh in Thurman Thomas’ career.