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by Berry Tramel Published: December 3, 2006
Not Saturday.

The Sooners and Cornhuskers didn't play the slobber-knocker game we expected. Both teams had to throw to move the ball, and Thompson threw it better than Son of Sooner Zac Taylor, Nebraska's QB, thanks in large part to pass-catching whiz Malcolm Kelly, the game's best player.

The Sooners won this one with a few big pass plays and stingy defense all night long. Nebraska reached OU territory in 11 of its 14 possessions but scored only on a 21-play drive after an interception.

"You gotta credit Oklahoma's defense," said Cornhusker coach Bill Callahan. "They were stalwart on every front. They played championship defense."

This will not go down as one of the more dominant Sooner teams. But it might go down as one of the more special.

This team played with its back to the wall all season and with its back to the wall all Saturday night. The Huskers kept punting OU deep into its own territory. Kept clamping the Sooner running game.

Yet never did Nebraska seem on the verge of a rally. Never did the Huskers threaten to win this one.

Here are the words Stoops used post-game to describe his squad: super competitive, resilient, great will and determination.

"Maybe we're not in position where we're blowing people out by 30," Stoops said. "But that's OK. There's a lot of different ways to win. We trust our defense in tight situations, and our offense comes up with plays when we have to.

"Incredibly competitive."

Back on the front row, a Texas fan, proudly wearing his burnt orange gear, stood behind the OU bench and as the final seconds ticked off, he placed an OU cap atop his head. A solid salute.

Moments later, when the yellowed field finally was clear of celebrants, Arrowhead Stadium bid bon voyage with Sooner fan Toby Keith's "How Do You Like Me Now?" over the loudspeaker.

College football likes these Sooners plenty. Welcome back, Oklahoma. has disabled the comments for this article.
by Berry Tramel
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The Oklahoman,...
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Tostitos Fiesta Bowl

Oklahoma vs. Boise State

Jan. 1, 2007, at 7:30

• Where: University of Phoenix Stadium, Glendale, Ariz.

• TV: KOKH-25

(Cox 12)


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