The Game of the Century: Nebraska vs. Oklahoma in College Football's Ultimate Battle

( 1 )

Overview

On Thanksgiving Day 1971, a record fifty-five million homes tuned in to watch two powerhouse college football teams collide. Defending national champion University of Nebraska was squaring off against the country's second-ranked team, the Oklahoma Sooners. The Huskers were riding a twenty-nine-game unbeaten streak; the Sooners had the number one offense in the country. Both teams were loaded with All-Americans and future NFL stars.

The legend of the game that became known as the...

See more details below
Available through our Marketplace sellers.
Other sellers (Hardcover)
  • All (9) from $3.22   
  • New (3) from $85.90   
  • Used (6) from $3.22   
Close
Sort by
Page 1 of 1
Showing All
Note: Marketplace items are not eligible for any BN.com coupons and promotions
$85.90
Seller since 2008

Feedback rating:

(187)

Condition:

New — never opened or used in original packaging.

Like New — packaging may have been opened. A "Like New" item is suitable to give as a gift.

Very Good — may have minor signs of wear on packaging but item works perfectly and has no damage.

Good — item is in good condition but packaging may have signs of shelf wear/aging or torn packaging. All specific defects should be noted in the Comments section associated with each item.

Acceptable — item is in working order but may show signs of wear such as scratches or torn packaging. All specific defects should be noted in the Comments section associated with each item.

Used — An item that has been opened and may show signs of wear. All specific defects should be noted in the Comments section associated with each item.

Refurbished — A used item that has been renewed or updated and verified to be in proper working condition. Not necessarily completed by the original manufacturer.

New
0743236211 New. Looks like an interesting title!

Ships from: Naperville, IL

Usually ships in 1-2 business days

  • Standard, 48 States
  • Standard (AK, HI)
$118.54
Seller since 2014

Feedback rating:

(227)

Condition: New
Brand New Item.

Ships from: Chatham, NJ

Usually ships in 1-2 business days

  • Canadian
  • International
  • Standard, 48 States
  • Standard (AK, HI)
  • Express, 48 States
  • Express (AK, HI)
$125.00
Seller since 2014

Feedback rating:

(113)

Condition: New
Brand new.

Ships from: acton, MA

Usually ships in 1-2 business days

  • Standard, 48 States
  • Standard (AK, HI)
Page 1 of 1
Showing All
Close
Sort by
The Game of the Century: Nebraska vs. Oklahoma in College Football's Ultimate Battle

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • NOOK HD/HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac
  • NOOK Study
  • NOOK for Web

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook)
$15.99
BN.com price
Sending request ...

Overview

On Thanksgiving Day 1971, a record fifty-five million homes tuned in to watch two powerhouse college football teams collide. Defending national champion University of Nebraska was squaring off against the country's second-ranked team, the Oklahoma Sooners. The Huskers were riding a twenty-nine-game unbeaten streak; the Sooners had the number one offense in the country. Both teams were loaded with All-Americans and future NFL stars.

The legend of the game that became known as the single finest ever played actually began a few years earlier in Texas, when coach Emory Bellard came up with an innovative plan of attack that would level defenses and give coaches sleepless nights for the next twenty years. The Texas wishbone offense became the talk of sporting America, and when Oklahoma coach Chuck Fairbanks adopted it for his team in 1970, the groundwork was laid for the epic confrontation with Nebraska. Combining a meticulously researched history of college football with in-depth interviews, author Michael Corcoran tells it all: the play-by-play strategies and techniques, the personalities of the players and coaches who conceived the plans and executed them, the formations and intricate blocking schemes that spelled victory or defeat. Highlights include: Heisman winner Johnny Rodgers's storied punt return, Rich Glover's incomparable twenty-two tackles, Oklahoma's furious comebacks each time they trailed in the game, and the poignant memories of the game after it was over. Nebraska radio play-by-play man Lyell Bremser echoed the nation when he proclaimed, "I never thought I would live this long to see this kind of a football game."

Filled with vivid details and nail-biting suspense, this book takes us behind the scenes and into the rich history of this practically mythical battle. From the roots of both football teams, to the players, coaches, reporters, spectators, and fans, The Game of the Century is a story that will resonate with football fans all across America.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
It was the ultimate grudge match. For seven weeks during 1971, Paul Devany's Nebraska Cornhuskers and John MacLeod's Oklahoma Sooners had been ranked No. 1 and No. 2. When they finally met at Owen Field, the record crowd was SRO; the telecast, beamed all over the world, reached the largest viewing audience in college football history. The game was no disappointment; Nebraska scored first, but the lead changed four times. Michael Corcoran's vivid replay of the "greatest game in history" offers everything but the postgame gridlock. A riveting account.
Charles Salzberg
setting the stage for this epic confrontation, Michael Corcoran, whose books include Duel in the Sun and How to Break 90, details football's growth in popularity in middle America. Especially interesting is how college football was used as an antidote to the depredations of the Depression and the dust storms that plagued the gut of the country in the 1930's.
The New York Times
Publishers Weekly
Many college football fans consider the 1971 matchup between Oklahoma and Nebraska the most exciting game ever played in any sport; people were talking about its thrill even before the nationally telecast Thanksgiving game ended. Corcoran, a sportswriter switching to the gridiron after several books on golf (Duel in the Sun, etc.), tries to recapture the excitement of that day through a combination of archival research and interviews with players and coaches. An extensive description of the game, play-by-play at some key moments, isn't enough to fill this slim chronicle, however, so the historical record extends back to the 19th century, when football was so unruly that one Oklahoma sheriff happening upon a game thought it was a brawl he needed to stop. Corcoran finds remarkable side stories, like the origins of Oklahoma's wishbone offensive or the criminal misadventures of Nebraska star Johnny Rodgers, but he also ends up padding the story with extraneous details. The chapters devoted to the game offer a clear, often vivid presentation and maintain suspense. Although the account occasionally reads like an extended magazine article or a dress rehearsal for an ESPN Classics documentary, the best moments deliver solid reportage that reanimates memories of one of college football's greatest games. Agent, John Moneteleone. (Oct.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
In the 20th century, college football teams ranked numbers one and two met several times, and those games were often hyped as the "games of the century." One such game-Michigan State vs. Notre Dame (1966)-was memorably chronicled in Mike Celizic's The Biggest Game of Them All. Five years later on Thanksgiving Day, 1971, number one (Nebraska) met number two (Oklahoma) in Norman, OK, in a hotly contested 35 to 31 Cornhusker victory. In addition to background research on the history of these two powerhouse football programs, Corcoran draws largely on interviews with the principal actors. The text focuses on the character of the coaches and follows the full development of the season that culminated in this Turkey Day showdown. The game itself is evoked quarter by quarter as the momentum sways back and forth. The only weakness in the book is that the aftermath of the event is given brief attention. Recommended for all college football collections.-John Maxymuk, Rutgers Univ. Lib., Camden, NJ Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Nebraska Life
“The beauty of Corcoran’s tale is in the way he approaches his subject like a novelist, sketching in the background of both teams, introducing his cast of characters, placing the event in its social context, and slowly building narrative tension. . . . You don’t need to know much about football to appreciate such storytelling. What drives the book is the nature of competition itself, and the various meanings we attribute to it.”—Nebraska Life
New York Times Book Review
"In setting the stage for this epic confrontation, Michael Corcoran . . . Details football’s growth in popularity in middle America."—New York Times Book Review
Booklist
“A wonderful, people-driven account of a classic game.”—Booklist
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780743236218
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster
  • Publication date: 9/7/2004
  • Pages: 208
  • Product dimensions: 6.36 (w) x 9.34 (h) x 0.81 (d)

Meet the Author

Michael Corcoran has written seven previous books, including Duel in the Sun: Tom Watson and Jack Nicklaus in the Battle of Turnberry, also available in a Bison Books edition.
Read More Show Less

Read an Excerpt

The Game of the Century

Nebraska Vs. Oklahoma in College Football's Ultimate Battle
By Michael Corcoran

Simon & Schuster

Copyright © 2004 Michael Corcoran
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0743236211

Chapter One

It is not uncommon [in Nebraska] to see a rugged-looking fellow, who in any other setting wouldn't dream of wearing anything more daring than khaki, in bright red pants. [Red] is not a consensus expression of team spirit. It is a primitive form of biological adaptation. Just as leopards develop spots to blend in with the brush, Nebraskans wear red to blend in with their surroundings.

-Meghan Daum, a writer who had recently moved to Nebraska, on National Public Radio's Morning Edition, July 13, 2001

In the late summer of 1859, John Kendall Gilman and his younger brother, Jeremiah, were headed across Nebraska toward the Rocky Mountains in a wagon filled with goods to sell to miners. The Pike's Peak gold rush was in full boom, and the Gilman brothers were carting whiskey, tools, bullets, clothing, and nearly anything else a miner might spend money on, including one item that would be considered truly luxurious on the frontier: a water pump, made of iron and painted red. Pumps were a rarity; when a person wanted water from a well, a bucket was lowered using a hand-cranked windlass.

A few days' ride west of Fort Kearny, almost to the Colorado border, the axle on the Gilmans' wagon gave out near the bank of the Platte River. The brothers were stuck in the middle of nowhere, but they decided to make the best of it and settle on the very spot where the wagon broke down. They reasoned they could trade with the Sioux and Cheyenne in the area, as well as with emigrants heading west. If the Gilmans were going to stay put, they would need water, so they dug a well and installed the red pump. When they were finished they tied a tin cup to the pump so thirsty sojourners could take a drink. Thereafter the Gilmans built two sod houses and had themselves what pre-Civil War pioneers called a road ranch -- a place to stop and make repairs, trade, buy mules or horses, and, most important, replenish supplies of food and water. The Gilman ranch became a noted landmark on the route to the far West, and the red pump in particular was a welcome sight to the weary. It became part of Nebraska legend.

Just a little over thirty years after the Gilmans set up their ranch -- in 1892 to be precise -- the University of Nebraska chose scarlet and cream as the school colors, thereby ensuring that whether it was the color of a water pump or a football jersey, red would forever by synonymous with Nebraska. At the time, of course, no living soul could envision a day eighty years later when the school's football team, known by then to Nebraskans one and all as Big Red, would be inextricably linked not only with the identity of the state as a whole, but also with the identity of nearly every single one of its citizens.

In 1970, Big Red shared the college football national championship with the University of Texas, and the 1971 Nebraska team looked to be the school's best ever. After a 41-13 drubbing of Oklahoma State in the seventh game of its 1971 season, the University of Nebraska Cornhusker football team was undefeated and, it appeared, unstoppable. The Husker defense had held opponents to a total of 40 points through twenty-eight quarters of play. During those same twenty-eight quarters, Nebraska's offense had scored 277 points. On October 30, Nebraska would face its most difficult game up to that point when it squared off against old rival the University of Colorado, ranked ninth in the country, in the nationally televised game of the week on the ABC network.

The output of the Husker offense was being matched by the farms that inspired the team nickname. The growing season had been a good one, and now, the week of the Colorado game, it was harvest time for corn. Near Bellwood, in Butler County (in the eastern part of Nebraska, as is the state capital of Lincoln, where Big Red plays its home games), brothers Gene and Jack Napler stared out over their 415 acres of irrigated corn. The Napler brothers were anticipating a yield of nearly 150 bushels per acre, but they were preoccupied with the coming game. "We want to be sure and get this harvest over so we can both be down at Lincoln for the Colorado game," said forty-five-year-old Gene. The heavy work during harvest would be done by the brothers' "Grow Big Red" combine. Each of their three trucks (two large ones for transport and one pickup) was red, and each bore a "Go Big Red -- Do It Again" bumper sticker. Gene had missed the Huskers' home game against Minnesota earlier in the season because one of the two brothers had to pick up some cattle. They flipped a coin, and Jack went to Lincoln to see a 35-7 Big Red win. Gene went cattle shopping.

"They kid us down at the elevator about having the fever bad, but they sure are on the lookout for tickets," said Gene. "We listen to the radio every morning to get the Nebraska ratings first and the price of corn second. We know the price of corn will be down because there's too darn much of it this year. But there is only one Nebraska team, and it is number one."

Indeed, the Huskers were the number-one-ranked team in the nation as they prepared to play Colorado, and if victory was to be assured, no detail was too small to overlook. When Colorado requested permission for its mascot, a real live buffalo named Ralphie, to be allowed on the sidelines during the game at Lincoln's Memorial Stadium, Nebraska head coach Bob Devaney said live animal mascots had no place on a football field. The only representation of the mascot allowed would be a fifteen-pound papier-mache bison head worn by a Colorado coed.

There was no doubt that Martha Hill, the student wearing the papier-mache head, would be among the most discussed topics before kickoff. For starters, she made it known she planned on wearing brown hot pants and knee-high suede boots as she strutted her stuff before the 67,000 at Memorial Stadium. Women's liberation activists of the day may not have approved of her provocative (if one overlooked the gigantic head of a beast resting on her shoulders) dress, but Hill, a sophomore, was the first woman to be a human mascot at Colorado and said she "liked to be where the action is."

On the Saturdays when Big Red was at home, the action was in Lincoln. In later years, a popular bumper sticker emerged that read MEMORIAL STADIUM: THIRD LARGEST CITY IN NEBRASKA. Only the towns of Omaha and Lincoln offered a greater concentration of people than the football stadium during home games, a fact that was not lost on Ms. Hill, who was a graduate of Lincoln East High School. "I grew up loving football just like all Nebraskans," said Hill, "but I went west because I wanted to meet new people and do new, exciting things. Besides," she said with a wink, "I never could get tickets to the Nebraska games and this was one way to get into Memorial Stadium."

On the same day, October 23, that Nebraska traveled south for its road game against Oklahoma State, the University of Oklahoma Sooners headed north into Kansas for the sixth game of their season. With a 5-0 record, the Sooners were ranked second in the national polls behind Nebraska, and in the minds of many it was difficult to see how any team could be ranked ahead of Oklahoma. The previous year, stuck in a midseason rut, the Sooners had overhauled their offense and installed the triple-option wishbone attack conceived by University of Texas assistant coach Emory Bellard and first used by the Longhorns in 1968.

It was no coincidence that the wishbone was the ultimate running formation and that it was conceived and nurtured and had matured at the University of Texas. Darrell Royal, the Texas head coach who was a star quarterback at Oklahoma and captain of Bud Wilkinson's Sooners in 1949, believed the best way to move the ball was along the ground. "Only three things can happen when you throw the ball," Royal often said, "and two of them are bad." When the wishbone was unveiled at Texas, opposing defenses reeled from the assault. After a tie with Houston to open the 1968 season, Texas lost to Texas Tech the following week, then ran off thirty consecutive victories over three seasons, including the national championship in 1969 and the shared national title with Nebraska in '70.

At 5-0 heading into the Kansas State game, Oklahoma's interpretation of the wishbone was clearly working, but the mind-numbing heights it reached on October 23, 1971, were incomprehensible. In the years to come after that day, when Oklahoma teams coached by Barry Switzer were winning national championships, writers and announcers fell in love with the metaphorical cliche that the Sooner wishbone swept over the opposition like a windblown prairie fire. If ever an offensive performance merited such flowery phrasing, it was the one against Kansas State. Oklahoma did not punt the ball once during the entire game, and scored touchdowns on its first ten possessions. The eleventh possession resulted in a lost fumble, and the twelfth in yet another touchdown. The final score was 75-28.

When Sooner star running back Greg Pruitt left the field near the end of the game, even the most diehard Kansas State fans rose to their feet to applaud what they had witnessed: In just nineteen carries, Pruitt had rushed for 298, breaking by 11 yards the Big Eight one-game record set by Gale Sayers in 1962. All totaled, the Oklahoma wishbone picked up 711 yards on the ground, or 66 yards more than the NCAA record at the time, and 36 first downs. Jack Mildren, the Sooner quarterback, rushed for 156 yards and threw just seven passes, completing four of them for a total of 74 yards. One of those passes was caught by Pruitt, who gained 34 yards on the play. "They are the greatest offensive running team I've ever seen," said Kansas State head coach Vince Gibson after the game. "I've never seen a better football team. Boy, they're great. I don't believe I've ever seen a better back than Greg Pruitt."

The Oklahoma wishbone wasn't so much a fire as it was an avalanche, and Greg Pruitt was not just some flashy running back. He was a superb blocker, a fine receiver, and a smart football player who even played on punt-coverage teams. As Pruitt's fame grew, he took to wearing a particular T-shirt around the Oklahoma campus in Norman. On the front of the white shirt was the word OKLAHOMA and just underneath it was another word: HELLO.

The back of Pruitt's favorite shirt carried a single word: GOODBYE. It was a message to the defenses that Pruitt and the Sooners had yet to face.

When the Associated Press's weekly Top 20 poll was released on October 26, there were five other undefeated teams in the country: Georgia, Penn State, Auburn, Alabama, and Michigan. Nebraska still held the top spot in the poll with 31 first-place votes, but that was four fewer than the previous week. Oklahoma's record-shattering day against Kansas State made voters in the poll think twice about which team was number one, and the Sooners received 21 first-place votes.

For Oklahoma fans, the move toward the top of the national rankings was a welcome relief after several seasons that were, by Sooner standards, dismal. The school's football legacy was such that the feeling around the state was that the Sooners were on the way to restoring order in the football universe. At Nebraska, the football program had been building momentum since Devaney took charge in 1962. Even with the shared national title in 1970, however, Husker fans had yet to reach the point where (as they would in the not-too-distant future) they could view a national championship as a birthright.

With each passing week in 1971, college football aficionados around the country anticipated more and more the inevitable showdown that loomed between the Cornhuskers and the Sooners on November 25, Thanksgiving Day, in Norman, Oklahoma. It would, on every level, be the single most exciting and superbly played game ever in college football.

Copyright © 2004 by Michael Corcoran

Continues...


Excerpted from The Game of the Century by Michael Corcoran Copyright © 2004 by Michael Corcoran. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 1 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(1)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)