A look at the history of the Nebraska-Texas rivalry (if you can even call it that) since the inception of the Big 12. This list is way more one-sided than I thought it would be, and filled with an inordinate amount of heartbreak for the Big Red. I’ll take a look at every game played since the initial Big 12 Championship between the two tradition-rich schools. I will also rank the heartbreak felt by Husker Nation by number of upside down Hook ‘em Horn signs (scale of 1-5).
1996 Big 12 Championship: Texas 37, (3) Nebraska 27
This game ruined Nebraska’s chances at a 3-peat National Championship (1994, 1995), a feat that has never been accomplished in the history of College Football. Throw in the fact that they won it all in 1997, and this game looms large in the history of College Football (rarely seems to get mentioned though). This game took place in the heart of the Huskers’ prime, while the Longhorns weren’t the power they are today, proven by the fact they were unranked. Believe it or not, the Big 12 North began as the dominant division of the two, but the initial title will always be in the hands of the Longhorns.
Key Play: Nursing a 3 point lead with under 4 minutes to play, the Longhorns faced a 4th and inches at their own 28 yard line. Throwing conventional wisdom out the window, they rolled the dice, and of all things called a rollout pass, where QB James Brown threw over the top of the defense for a 61 yard pass. Perhaps the ballsiest play call I have ever seen, and simply referred to as “The Play” by most Cornhusker fans.
Heartbreak: 5 Upside down Hook ‘em Horns
1998: (20)Texas at (16)Nebraska, L 20-16
Nebraska’s initial season under Franky Solich. The Longhorns broke the Huskers’ nation best 47 game home winning streak (won’t be the last time you hear that). Texas was led by freshman QB Major Applewhite, who I’m absolutely convinced would’ve led the Burnt Orange to a National Championship if he were never replaced by Chris Simms. Terrible coaching decision.
Key Stat: Heisman winning RB Ricky Williams ran for 150 yards (60 below his season average?!?) on the Blackshirts’ defense.
Heartbreak: 3.5 UdHeH’s
1999: (3)Nebraska at (18)Texas, L 24-20
The first of two meetings in Eric Crouch’s sophomore season was the only loss of the season for the Big Red. At this point, Texas had effectively gotten into the heads of the Huskers, and had a mental advantage over them. This was a very good Nebraska team that was forced to watch Florida St. and Virginia Tech in the National Championship.
Key Stat: I’m pretty sure this is the year Nebraska set a record for number of fumbles in a season, but couldn’t find any stat to back it up. But, in this game they coughed the ball up 5 times, while losing 3 of them.
Heartbreak: 4 UdHeH’s
1999 Big 12 Championship: (3)Nebraska 22, (12)Texas 6
Finally, the Huskers register a victory over the Longhorns, their lone victory over the Lone Star State in the history of the Big 12. And it was done in dominant fashion, with the only Texas points coming on a fumble return for a touchdown in the 4th quarter.
Key Stat: Texas ran the ball 30 times for a total of 6 yards.
2002: Texas at Nebraska, L 27-24
This loss snapped the 27 game home winning streak of Nebraska, again the longest in the nation. The Longhorns were led by QB Chris Simms who passed for 419 yards against the Blackshirts.
Key Stat: Jammal Lord ran for 234 rushing yards, a school record for rushing yards by a QB. Of course, this record was broken by Taylor Martinez last week against Kansas St, who posted 241, and thankfully helped erase Lord’s name from the Nebraska record books.
Heartbreak: 2.5 UdHeH’s
2003: (12)Nebraska at (16)Texas, L 31-7
This game was a major piece of evidence proving how far Nebraska had fallen behind the powerhouses of the conference, which eventually led to the firing of Frank Solich. You might remember this time period for all the stories about how the option was nearing its end because of the newfound speed on defenses around the nation.
Key Stat: Texas posted 353 rushing yards, led by Vince Young and Cedric Benson, while Nebraska rushed the ball 40 times for a mere 53 yards. Ouch.
Heartbreak: 1.5 UdHeH’s
2006: (5)Texas at (16)Nebraska, L 22-20
This game could have been the official arrival of the Nebraska Cornhuskers under Bill Callahan (how weird does that sound?). Instead, this season ended up as his peak year with the Huskers, and was let go after the next season. The history of the Big Red could’ve been changed by a different result from this game (perhaps no Bo Pelini?).
Key Play: Zac Taylor completed a late game 3rd down pass to Terrence Nunn to all but ice the game, only Nunn fumbled away the ball, giving the Longhorns a chance to drive down and kick the game winning field goal.
Heartbreak: 3 UdHeH’s
2007: Nebraska at (16)Texas, L 28-25
At least one team seems to be ranked 16th in every meeting between these two teams. Texas came into this game a 21 point favorite, so it was pretty surprising that it was even close. Callahan’s final year combined with the failed Sam Keller experiment equaled a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad season for the Huskers.
Key Stat: Future Chief, Jamaal Charles ran for 290 yards (including 216 in the 4th quarter alone) against the famed Pinkshirts defense, the most rushing yards ever allowed by Nebraska.
Heartbreak: 1 UdHeH’s
2009 Big 12 Championship: (3)Texas 13, (21)Nebraska 12
Husker Nation has waited 316 days for 1 measly second. This was one of the most emotional 60 minutes I’ve experienced out of a football game. A lot of it was for the one man wrecking crew that Ndamukong Suh was that night, and how bad he wanted to win the Big 12 Championship. But, it was also about getting the deserved result out of the Heisman, with the clearly superior Ndamukong the Great outplaying Colt McCoy a hundred times over. Unfortunately, Nebraska fielded an inept offense that couldn’t capitalize on the opportunities presented to them by the Blackshirts. I truly thought this was the night the Texas dominance over Nebraska would come to an end, but instead the Big Red had to settle on being on the losing end of the Game of the Year in the 2009 College Football season.
Link: Click here to see my thoughts immediately following the loss in last year’s Big 12 Championship.
Key Stat: Zac Lee finished the game 6-20, 39 yards, 3 INT’s. And I wanted him to start this year (quickly editing archives……)
Heartbreak: 5 UdHeH’s
Go Big Red,
Topics: Big 12 Conference, Bill Callahan, Cedric Benson, Chris Simms, College Football, Colt Mccoy, Eric Crouch, Frank Solich, Huskers, Jamaal Charles, James Brown, Jammal Lord, Major Applewhite, Ndamukong Suh, Nebraska, Nebraska Cornhuskers, Ricky Williams, Sam Keller, Taylor Martinez, Terrence Nunn, Texas Longhorns, Vince Young, Zac Lee