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Tom's Time
Photo Credit: Nebraska Athletics

Tom’s Time: Huskers Earn Shot at ’93 Title Thanks to 13 Seconds Against Oklahoma

December 03, 2020

Thirteen seconds.

That’s how much time elapsed on the game clock between Nebraska’s two touchdowns early in the fourth quarter against Oklahoma at Memorial Stadium the day after Thanksgiving in 1993.

Those 13 seconds were what the Huskers needed for a 21-7 victory.

The first touchdown capped a nine-play, 38-yard drive that began late in the third quarter, preceded by an 11-yard Corey Dixon punt return. Tommie Frazier passed 11 yards to Abdul Muhammad, and Byron Bennett kicked the extra point with 13:20 remaining in the game.

The points were enough for the victory on a frigid afternoon. Temperature at the 1:35 p.m. kickoff was 19 degrees, with a windchill of minus-7.

The field had been cleared after a light snow fell on Thanksgiving.

It was the sort of day that underscored Tom Osborne’s commitment to a run-oriented offense. Given Nebraska’s weather, there would be such days—though not necessarily that extreme—he said, making too much reliance on the pass difficult.

Anyway, for good measure Mike Minter forced a fumble on the ensuing kickoff, David Seizys recovered at the Oklahoma 20-yard line and Calvin Jones covered the yardage on first down for the second touchdown. Bennett added the extra-point kick with 13:07 remaining.

Nebraska’s only other touchdown had come in the second quarter on Frazier’s 2-yard run, after rover back Toby Wright intercepted a Cale Gundy pass and returned it 25 yards to the Sooner 15-yard line. The Huskers needed three plays and a personal foul penalty to get the ball to the 2-yard line.

The Oklahoma series Wright ended had been preceded by a Frazier interception. Nebraska did not distinguish itself offensively that day, managing only 179 yards, the fewest ever in a victory under Osborne, who said afterward being tied at halftime was “kind of a major upset.”

If not for the Blackshirts, Nebraska’s hopes of playing for a national championship in the Orange Bowl on New Year’s Day might well have been dashed.

The Huskers managed just 78 yards and four first downs in the first half.

Oklahoma had 10 first downs and 200 yards in the first 30 minutes, but only one touchdown. The Sooners drove 74 yards in 13 plays on the first series of the game.

Nine plays into the drive, the Blackshirts lost senior outside linebacker and co-captain Trev Alberts. The consensus All-American and Butkus Award winner suffered a dislocated right elbow.

That opening drive ended Oklahoma’s scoring. Until the Sooners’ final possession of the game, they had managed only 32 yards in the second half.

The final possession began at their own 1-yard line, after a Frazier fumble, and carried to the Nebraska 37. Four Gundy passes were incomplete, the fourth as time ran out.

Gundy, the first-team All-Big Eight quarterback and leader in passing efficiency, finished 8-of-22 passing for 85 yards, with the Wright interception.

Frazier, second-team all-conference, was 5-of-17 for 57 yards, with the touchdown and interception. He carried 15 times for 37 yards and the second-quarter touchdown.

Fullback Dwayne Chandler scored Oklahoma’s touchdown from 1 yard. Tailback James Allen was the Sooners’ leading rusher with 81 yards on 10 carries. Back-up tailback Jerald Moore gained 71 yards on only nine carries.

Jones, who had rushed for a combined 403 yards in the previous two games, carried 25 times for 83 yards to finish the regular season with 1,043 yards and 12 touchdowns. Despite playing in only eight games—and appearing for one play in another—he led the Big Eight in rushing and scoring.

Linebacker Mike Anderson led the Blackshirts with nine tackles. Junior outside linebacker Dwayne Harris came off the bench to pick up the slack created by Alberts’ loss. Harris was credited with seven tackles, three of them sacks. He also forced a fumble.

At game’s end, Husker fans swarmed the field and pulled down the goal posts. Nebraska was again headed to Miami, as the No. 1 team in the Bowl Coalition and Coaches’ polls (No. 2 in the Associated Press poll), with Florida State, No. 1 in the AP poll, almost certainly the opponent again.

Asked about the polls, Osborne said those in the Coaches’ poll “vote by record, mostly,” while the writers who voted in the AP poll, obviously had “more intellectual capacity.”

He was being facetious.

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