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Nebraska leaving Big 12 as runner-ups
The Huskers lost the first Big 12 championship game to Texas in 1996, then won titles over Texas A&M in 1997 and the Longhorns in 1999. They also lost to Oklahoma in 2006.
The latest title game loss comes two weeks after the Huskers lost 9-6 at Texas A&M, when they were penalized 16 times for 145 yards, both school records.
Nebraska fans hinted at a conspiracy by Big 12 officials because of the pending departure of the Huskers.
When asked before Saturday’s game about that possibility, Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe scoffed at that idea.
“It’s a silly notion to think that there’s some conspiracy going on with officiating because if that’s the case, it could be easily done where they’d lose a lot more games _ anybody in any sport,” Beebe said.
Actually, Nebraska got a favorable ruling with an overturned call early in the second quarter.
Courtney Osborne intercepted a pass and returned it 33 yards to the Oklahoma 12, though receiver Ryan Broyles stripped the ball away as Osborne was going down.
Officials initially ruled that it was a fumble and Oklahoma had already snapped the ball before whistles blew and the play was reviewed. It was then determined that Osborne’s knee hit the ground before the ball came loose _ and two plays later running back Rex Burkhead took the snap and threw a 5-yard TD to Kyler Reed for a 17-0 lead.
Then things started going wrong for Nebraska.
“We just didn’t finish,” Burkhead said.
The Sooners scored 17 consecutive points. Travis Lewis had an interception and fumble recovery to set up 10 points.
Roy Helu Jr. got Nebraska started with a 66-yard TD run, but his fumble was recovered by Lewis at the Huskers’ 31, setting up an Oklahoma touchdown with 1:37 left in the half.
Nebraska managed to regain the lead before halftime on Henery’s 42-yard field goal, but lost two fumbles, five punts and the final failed fourth-down conversion on their eight drives in the second half.
“You really put yourself in a handicap and we had some ball-handling issues that you just can’t have,” offensive coordinator Shawn Watson said. “That’s the way it is. It’s that simple.”
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