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Sooners send 'Huskers packing

Oklahoma’s Travis Lewis intercepts Nebraska’s Taylor Martinez to halt a drive, one of four turnovers produced by the Sooners as they rally from a 17-0 deficit and get a Fiesta Bowl slot.

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Oklahoma’s Travis Lewis intercepts Nebraska’s Taylor Martinez to halt a drive, one of four turnovers produced by the Sooners as they rally from a 17-0 deficit and get a Fiesta Bowl slot.

ARLINGTON, Texas — No. 10 Oklahoma earned a spot in the Fiesta Bowl and ruined Nebraska's last conference game as a member of the Big 12 for good measure.

Travis Lewis had an interception in the end zone and recovered two fumbles as the Sooners rallied from a 17-point deficit to beat Nebraska 23-20 on Saturday in the Big 12 Championship, the Cornhuskers' last stand in the conference before they jump to the Big Ten next season.

Landry Jones threw for 342 yards and a touchdown and sneaked in for another score from 1 yard out as the Sooners (11-2) made the biggest comeback in the title game's history.

The No. 13 Cornhuskers (10-3) self-destructed, squandering a 17-0 lead with four turnovers and getting shut out in the second half for the first time all season.

Jimmy Stevens delivered the winner, a 27-yard field goal, with 8:28 to play.

Oklahoma won its seventh Big 12 title, more than twice as many as any other school, and the seventh straight by schools from the South Division.

Nebraska, which lost 13-12 to Texas on a field goal after one second had been put back on the clock in last year's title game, suffered another defeat but without a close call at the end.

The 'Huskers had to punt it away with less than 4 minutes left after Taylor Martinez was sacked at midfield, then they couldn't convert a first down after getting the ball back with 1:46 to go at their own 41.

The longtime rivals had played each other in 71 straight seasons as members of the Big Six and as national powerhouses in the Big Eight before being split up into separate divisions in the Big 12. That divide, and down stretches for both programs, took some of the sizzle out of one of college football's most storied rivalries.

This was only the second time Nebraska and Oklahoma met in the Big 12 Championship Game after deciding the Big Eight title 31 times in 36 seasons. Now, they don't figure to meet again for another decade unless it's in a bowl game.

Nebraska will likely fall into the Insight or Alamo Bowl.

Martinez, who didn't play in the 'Huskers' North-clinching win against Colorado eight days earlier, had 143 yards passing with an interception but wasn't taking the snaps in some key moments down the stretch.

After Martinez finally lost a fumble — he had put the ball on the ground four times — the Huskers turned to Rex Burkhead in the wildcat formation. But after Burkhead picked up 24 yards on his first two carries, he couldn't handle a shotgun snap, and Lewis pounced again.

Cameron Kenney made a 23-yard catch on third and 24 then made an 11-yard catch to move the chains on fourth down, setting up Stevens' go-ahead field goal from 27 yards.

Nebraska shot out to a 17-0 lead before letting the Sooners back in the game late in the first half with 10 points in a 58-second span.

Oklahoma struck right back with Jones' 49-yard TD strike to Kenny Stills, and Lewis came up with an interception in the end zone against Martinez then scooped up Roy Helu Jr.'s fumble to set up scores for the Sooners.

Sooners send 'Huskers packing 12/05/10 [Last modified: Sunday, December 5, 2010 12:43am]
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