NORMAN, Okla. Nebraska called timeout. Oklahoma fans booed. Then they pelted the field with oranges as the Huskers lined up to kick a field goal on the last play of the game.
Almost sounds like the good old days … if only the kick had mattered.
The only thing David Dyches' 39-yard field goal did was allow Nebraska to avert a shutout in a 30-3 loss Saturday night to No. 2 Oklahoma at Memorial Stadium.
"It means a lot," Nebraska quarterback Joe Dailey said. "Every game you play, you try to stick it to people, and I felt like they tried to stick it to us."
The field goal was all Nebraska had to show for its hard-hitting, slow-moving, grind-it-out offensive efforts against the Sooners. Nebraska crossed midfield only three times.
But hey, it's three points. And it means Nebraska has scored in 112 straight games, dating to a 19-0 loss at Arizona State in 1996.
"It was good just to get something," Nebraska tight end Dusty Keiser said.
Nebraska entered the game intent on running the football. The Huskers ran 40 times for 201 yards, with 51 of those coming on fullback Steve Kriewald's runs in the final minute, setting up Dyches' kick.
"The game plan was to come in and run the ball," Nebraska receiver Grant Mulkey said, "and OU, their defense, they play upfield real hard, and there's gaps and holes that you can break them in. And we did that. We just weren't able to put together the long drives."
Before the fourth quarter, Nebraska crossed midfield only once, and punted immediately. The Huskers had also driven to the OU 5-yard line earlier in the fourth quarter, thanks to runs of 20 yards by Cory Ross and 14 yards by Brandon Jackson. But Dailey's fourth-and-5 pass from the OU 6 was batted away.
It was one of only 12 passing attempts by Dailey, who completed eight, with an interception.
The big offensive star was Ross, who carried 30 times for 130 yards before leaving the game in the fourth quarter with a sore sternum. He went over 1,000 yards for the season, becoming the first NU I-back to accomplish that feat since Dahrran Diedrick in 2001. Ross had a long run of 24 yards.
"That was our game plan, to keep running the ball and pound it at them. We really didn't want to divert ourselves from that," said Keiser, who caught one pass for 11 yards.
"We were getting some good gashes on them at times, getting good chunks of yards every now and then. But they'd shut it down on second down and get us on third. It was tough to sustain a long drive."
Nebraska coach Bill Callahan diverted a question about the offensive game plan.
"To win the game," Callahan said. "That was our game plan. To win the game. You bet. Yeah, we were going to try to do our best to win the game. You bet."
Last week, Nebraska threw the ball a school-record 43 times in a 34-27 loss at Iowa State.
Players said the plan to run the ball against Oklahoma was in part because of the rainy weather, and in part because of an effort to control the ball.
"We knew we had to keep our defense off the field with their high-powered offense," Mulkey said. "I remember at the end of the third quarter, we had run only 36 plays, and that just wasn't cutting it.
"We had to keep our defense off the field. We couldn't have our corners and DBs stay on the field that long and be running all over the field like that."
Dailey went as far to say Oklahoma didn't stop the run very well, despite the fact the Sooners rank first in the Big 12 and seventh in the nation, allowing 90 yards rushing per game before Saturday.
"We wanted to take advantage of what they do worse … and they don't stop the run very well," Dailey said.
"They were a very athletic team. They're the type of team where you don't want to get lateral with them. You don't want it to be a race to the sideline. You want to get up and down, North and South with them, and that was our intentions and our game plan."
Reach Brian Rosenthal at 473-7436 or firstname.lastname@example.org.