One for the History Books: Top 10 Games in Nebraska Football History

Matt ZvolanekCorrespondent IIAugust 4, 2011

One for the History Books: Top 10 Games in Nebraska Football History

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    Throughout its long and storied history, Nebraska has had its share of big games.  From the start the Huskers were a marquee opponent to many powerhouses. 

    What defines a big game?  Is it a complete blowout of an inferior team? Is it a legendary showdown between Top 10 teams? Or is it a game where a beloved player had the game of his career? 

    It is all of these and more. 

     

Number 10: Nebraska vs. Omaha YMCA, 1890

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    It was a brisk November day when the team from Nebraska took the field against Omaha YMCA.  The game resulted in a 10-0 Nebraska win. 

    So why is this game so important?  It was the first game ever played by the not-yet-named Huskers. 

    From that first game, Nebraska laid the foundation for not only its winning ways, but also its defensive mindset.

Number 9: Nebraska vs. Tennessee, 1997

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    The Cornhuskers came into the Orange Bowl with a 12-0 record, fresh off a slaughtering of Texas A&M in the Big XII Championship.  The opponent was supposed to be Tennessee that night, but they didn't seem to show up. 

    The Huskers walked off with a 42-17 win over the Volunteers, giving Tom Osborne his 255th win. 

    The victory earned the Huskers a share of the National Title with Michigan, giving Osborne his third and Nebraska its fifth national championship.

Number 8: Nebraska vs. Oklahoma, 2010

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    Fresh in every Huskers mind is the Big XII Title that got away.  After being up 17-0, Nebraska let the lead slip away and the Sooners came away with the win. 

    Why is this loss one of the big games in Husker history, you're wondering.  Because it was the last game played against the Sooners as conference rivals.  In other words, it was the end of an era.

Number 7: Nebraska vs. Florida, 1995

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    In a showdown in the Fiesta Bowl, the undefeated Cornhuskers rolled the Spurrier-led Gators, 62-24.

    The touchdown-fest was capped off by one of the most famous plays at Nebraska.  Tommie Frazier took off on an option play and started running downfield.  After numerous broken tackles and 75 yards, he was alone in the end zone. 

    The win gave Nebraska its fourth national title and second in a row.

Number 6: Nebraska vs. Alabama, 1971

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    In a matchup of coaching legends, Bob Devaney's Huskers took on Bear Bryant's Crimson Tide.  The game ended in a 38-6 defeat for Alabama.  It was the worst loss of his career up to that point. 

    The game was over at halftime with the Huskers leading 28-0.  This was Bob Devaney's and the Huskers' second national title.

Number 5: Nebraska vs. Notre Dame, 1922

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    In 1922, the Four Horsemen burst onto the college football scene knocking down every opponent in their way.  Except one.  Nebraska, coached by Fred Dawson, pulled the upset. 

    Why is this game so important?  The Four Horsemen are college football legends comparable to Doak Walker, Red Grange and Ed Weir. 

    And in their careers, they suffered only two losses.  Both to Nebraska.

Number 4: Nebraska vs. Miami, 1994

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    After years of playing Miami and coming up just short, Tom Osborne finally defeated his demons... and the Hurricanes, too. 

    Yes, Tom Osborne's first national championship came against the very team that had thwarted him about a decade earlier. 

    Though on that night in 1984, Nebraska's try for the win was batted down, Tom Osborne persevered.  The Huskers would play Miami in a tight one, winning 24-17. 

    The '94 National Championship started the streak of two more titles in three years.

Number 3: Nebraska vs. Texas Tech, 1976

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    You maybe be wondering why this game is so important.  So Nebraska beat Texas Tech in mid-tier bowl game. 

    The game itself was a tight one.  The Huskers ended up winning though, beating the Red Raiders 27-24. 

    That win guaranteed Coach Osborne would be coming back next season.  There was talk of him being fired if he didn't win. 

    Imagine what would have happened to Nebraska football.  The implications of this game were tremendous.

Number 2: Nebraska vs. LSU, 1970

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    Nebraska's first national title came by defeating LSU 17-12 in the Orange Bowl.  The Cornhuskers fought hard and came out on top, both in the game and in the polls. 

    Jerry Tagge scored the game-winner and was instantly a folk hero. 

    Under Coach Devaney, Nebraska did it.  They had finally won a national title.  It was the first of five.

Number 1: Nebraska vs. Oklahoma, 1971

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    The greatest game ever played in college football history.  "The Game of The Century."  Nebraska was ranked No. 1 and the Sooners were No. 2.  And the game didn't disappoint. 

    There was Johnny Rodgers' electrifying punt return, topped with Lyle Bremser exclaiming, "Man, woman, and child, did that put 'em in the aisle!" 

    Then there was the workhorse, Jeff Kinney, who had four touchdowns on the day.  The final score ended up being 35-31 in favor of the Huskers. 

    The win took the Sooners out of title contention and allowed Nebraska to stay undefeated en route to its second national championship.