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 Nebraska vs. Oklahoma
Jack Mildren finds Jon Harrison in the end zone for the TD.
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 Nebraska vs. Oklahoma
Johnny Rodgers returns punt for a touchdown.
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 Nebraska vs. Oklahoma: 1971
Harrison to Chandler WR pass.
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 Nebraska vs. Oklahoma: 1971
Mildren 17 yd TD pass.
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 Nebraska vs. Oklahoma: 1971
Kinney TD for Neb win.
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Wednesday, November 19, 2003
Hype was exceeded by performance

On Thanksgiving Day in 1971, No. 1 Nebraska met No. 2 Oklahoma in the Game of the Century. Some of the game's stars agreed to share their memories of Nebraska's 35-31 win.

Jack Mildren

Jerry Tagge
Jerry Tagge led the Cornhuskers to 362 yards of total offense against OU in '71.
Under Quarterback Jack Mildren direction, Oklahoma's potent wishbone attack led the nation in rushing, total offense and scoring in 1971. His running and timely passing took the Sooners to a near upset of No. 1 Nebraska in what became known as the Game of the Century. Mildren shares some of his memories of the classic 35-31 Nebraska win.

I have numerous favorite memories of the game. The first thing that comes to mind is Jon Harrison. We went to high school together in Abilene, Texas and were teammates at Oklahoma. I never thought he got the credit he deserved until that game.

We got the ball back right before halftime and Coach Switzer usually signaled in plays from the booth. There were only a couple of elevators in the press box and the coaches had left to get to the locker room. Jon came up to me and said "I can beat my man deep." It took us only four plays to score. I hit Jon on two long passes, the second one for 24 yards and a touchdown. The amazing thing was that it was the first time all year that Nebraska had been behind. (Oklahoma led 17-14 at halftime.)

As for the success we had on offense, without meaning to brag, we expected it. We were an extremely confident team. You know, another thing about the game was that both teams played to win. There were great plays made by both teams. Johnny Rodgers' punt return, Harrison's catches...I can't imagine watching it as a fan. It was back and forth like a ping pong match. I don't remember the officials throwing many flags or breaking the flow of the game. We must have combined for 700-800 yards of total offense (829). It must have been something to watch.

The build up to this year's game is big. I remember the build-up to our game in '71 as being huge. Dan Jenkins was over at the Student Union and the reporters contingent was over and above the normal group from Oklahoma and Dallas that covered our games. To most of the players it was a fun experience. Back then it was the ONLY game on television. Everyone was at home watching us after having their Thanksgiving turkey. But the hype was not intimidating. We had our own little world over in the athletic dorm. In '71, we all lived across the street from the stadium.

Jerry Tagge

Quarterback Jerry Tagge directed No. 1 Nebraska to a 35-31 win over No. 2 Oklahoma in 1971's Game of the Century. Tagge took the Cornhuskers on a 12-play, 74-yard game-winning drive, capped by Jeff Kinney's two-yard TD plunge with 1:38 left. Tagge shares his memories of the Game of the Century.

Wow, the thing that stands out is our last drive when we went down and scored. Everything was riding on it; it was our last shot. The whole series was do or die. I think we faced three or four third downs and converted them all. We were routine and methodical.

It was the best game I've ever been associated with. Considering the build-up that started from the first of the year, it's amazing that the game lived up to the expectations. Johnny Rodgers punt return was electrifying. Jack Mildren was the star of the game. It was an uncharacteristic performance, he was hitting his receivers in stride.

It was a tremendous football game.

Jon Harrison

Jon Harrison was the surprising star of the game. He caught four passes for 115 yards and two touchdowns. His 17-yard TD with 7:10 left gave the Sooners a 31-28 lead.

It's sort of neat that the game keeps going on. It was two great teams playing in a big national game. I just wish we would have won.

We didn't throw much out of the wishbone and we had great success running that year. We just didn't pass much then, like OU's doing now. Nebraska set up their defense to stop the run. They were playing me man to man, which gave us the chance for some big plays. Jack hit me on some great passes.

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