The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current, October 30, 2000, Page 7, Image 7

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    L^aiiy I'WUICUWVCUI iviui iuay, v^iuutir OKJ, £UUU r age/
LEFT: Nebraska rover
Joe Walker is brought
down by a pair of Sooner
defenders after a kkkoff
return. Walker account
ed for 24 of Nebraska's
29 yards on kick returns.
BELOW: The Oklahoma
student section
becomes a sea of red
and white pom-poms
before kkkoff on
Scott McClurg/DN
... by Sooner magic
Mystique revealed in Heupel, firm defense
NORMAN, Okla. —Oklahoma proved that there still remains some
Sooner magic in the Oklahoma-Nebraska rivalry, once thought dead from
nine straight losses in Sooner country.
But each day leading up to Saturday’s nationally televised game, Coach
Bob Stoops showed his OU team highlights from the historic series, hoping
to educate his players of how Sooner Magic worked in the old days.
Stoops’ quarterback Josh Heupel and the OU defense responded by
adding their own set of highlights by rolling off 31 unanswered points en
route to OU's first victory against NU since 1991.
“I guess that’s just the mystique of Sooner Magic,” said Heupel, the
magician, as he completed 20 passes for 300 yards and one score.
With Heupel masterfully conducting the offense and the Oklahoma
defense shutting down NU, those in attendance had little else to do by mid
way through the fourth quarter but launch oranges onto Owen Field and
target the south goal post as the next thing to fall to Oklahoma.
But each point that Heupel’s offense put up was just insurance after
kicker Urn Duncan’s 19-yard field goal put OU up for good with 6:06 left in
the second quarter.
Thanks to OU's suffocating defense for the game’s last three quarters
Nebraska's two first-quarter scores would be its only points.
Amazingly, Oklahoma didn’t change anything tactically in attacking the
Husker offense, Stoops said. It just had to calm down, the second-year
coach said.
“We didn’t change anything,” Stoops said, who is undefeated at home.
“We just got out of position on plays in the first quarter. More than anything
we calmed down. We didn’t change our defense.”
IWo plays that Stoops blamed directly on overzealous OU players were
a 44-yard trap by fullback Willie Miller, which set up a 37-yard TD by Eric
Crouch. NU’s other score, a Matt Davison's 39-yard catch from Crouch was
also due to an overly-pursuant defense.
Defensive Coordinator Brent Venables said OU just had to get “under
“We just had to slow a couple of our guys down, get our position on the
field. I know that sounds pretty generic and simple, but that’s what it was,”
Venables said.
After getting his players to take their excitement down a notch, Stoops
said he was pleased most with how they tackled and kept Nebraska players
from breaking loose.
At one point, the OU defense corralled Crouch on 15 consecutive runs
for only one gain more than four yards - an 18-yarder in the third quarter,
followed immediately by back-to-back sacks of minus-eight and nine yards.
“Players calmed down and got used to the speed of Nebraska and the
their execution,” Stoops said. “They started to see the plays like they had
From that point, the Cornhuskers were put in several difficult situa
NU Coach Frank Solich
tipped his hat to the
Sooners’s defense.
“We had second-and
long and third-and-Iong all
day,” said Solich, facing OU
for the first time as head
coach. “We do not like our
offense to be in that posi
From the end of the first
quarter, Oklahoma’s
defense held NU to 136
yards of total offense after it
put up 196 in the first quar
They put the reigns on
Nebraska’s nation-leading
rushing attack, holding it to
just 195 yards, well below
its 379 yard average.
The defensive game-ball was presented to redshirt freshman safety
Derrick Strait, who returned an interception 32 yards for a touchdown and
stripped Davison of the ball late in the fourth quarter, killing any comeback
Strait said the Oklahoma players knew what kind of a day they would be
in for if they didn’t shape up.
"Pretty much we knew if we didn’t refocus, Nebraska is the type of team
that can put you away real fast.’’
Scott McQurg/DN