LINCOLN, Neb. — Mike Gundy looked up at the Memorial Stadium clock, settled on 5:25, and the scoreboard blaring the stunning news, Cowboys 45, Huskers 7, and the Oklahoma State football coach did the math.
Sometimes he's not so good at math. Later, in the celebrating OSU locker room, Gundy would tell his troops they had wiped out 41 years of frustration. Actually, it had been 47 years since the Cowboys took home a victory from the Corn Kingdom.
You can't blame Gundy for ciphering. Blow big leads like his Cowboys have, and comfort comes slowly, even when the scoreboard and your very own eyeballs tell you no way this sorry excuse for Nebraska can rally.
But with 5:25 left, Gundy relaxed. Said he, "I finally realized this one was in the books.”
The history books.
The Cowboys, losers in 20 straight games at Memorial Stadium, ended the streak in dominating fashion. A 38-0 halftime lead, a 45-14 final and knowledge that they, not the once-mighty Cornhuskers, are the team with a promising near future.
Call it Gundy's finest hour and Nebraska football's lowest moment since sometime before 1962, when Bob Devaney arrived and planted the seeds that almost immediately grew the Huskers into the vaunted Big Red.
OSU suddenly is tied for the Big 12's South Division lead in mid-October, while Nebraska is left to ponder the bleak administration of Bill Callahan, who must win 32 of his next 33 games just to equal the record of Frank Solich, the man fired to make way for Callahan.
No one in orange Saturday cared to feel sorry for Nebraska.
Athletic director Mike Holder, a Cowboy since he arrived in Stillwater as a freshman golfer in 1966, looked up Saturday himself. "It's quite a place,” Holder said of Memorial Stadium.
He counted, one by one, the years displayed on the facade, proclaiming Nebraska's conference titles; 43 in all. Holder looked at the honored names high above the north end zone: Johnny Rodgers, Rich Glover, Dave Rimington, Mike Rozier, Dean Steinkuhler, Will Shields, Eric Crouch, Trev Alberts, Tommie Frazier, Bob Brown.
Holder looked around the stadium; "85,000 red-clad fans that understand what top-flight football is all about,” Holder said. "To come in here and win a game, regardless of the score, is significant.