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Posted on Sat, Nov. 13, 2004

Oklahoma rocks Nebraska 30-3

NORMAN, Okla. — It won't be remembered as a classic in the storied rivalry. Oklahoma's 30-3 triumph only affirmed the separate places these programs occupy in today's college football world.

The Sooners, 10-0, were never threatened. Oklahoma put up three second-quarter touchdowns and allowed the Cornhuskers to cross midfield once — barely — in the first half.

After the third touchdown increased the margin to 23-0, the first oranges pelted the turf. The Sooners are aiming for a spot in the Orange Bowl, site of this season's Bowl Championship Series title game.

Did Oklahoma do enough to maintain its No. 2 ranking in the BCS standings in light of third-rated Auburn's resounding victory over Georgia? We'll know when the numbers get crunched on Monday.

“Naturally, I'm going to say our (victory) was more impressive,” Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops said. “But we still have work to do.”

The more immediate reward for the Sooners is a Big 12 division championship. The Sooners clinched their fourth South title in five years and will be in Kansas City for the Dec. 4 game. They wrap up the regular season next week at Baylor, then get ready for a North Division opponent that may not be known for two weeks.

“It was our primary goal,” Stoops said.

Nebraska, 5-5, remains in the running for that game as the North representative, but that's a rematch few might be interested in witnessing after Saturday's performance.

It's come to this for the Cornhuskers. They stopped the clock with an incomplete pass with 1 second remaining and trotted on the field-goal unit. Kicker David Dyches booted it from 39 yards, and Nebraska avoided its first shutout since 1996.

If nothing else, Oklahoma-Nebraska is on course to remain a barometer for a national title game appearance. In six of the previous seven meetings, the winner of this game has played for the national title, and four times it produced the champion.

Some big news for Oklahoma was who did and didn't start. Cornerback Antonio Perkins returned to the lineup after missing the previous four games with a knee injury. Perkins' presence seemed to inspire a defense that helped hold Nebraska to 274 yards.

Running back Adrian Peterson didn't start and saw limited action while nursing an injured shoulder. Peterson, the freshman sensation, picked up 2 yards on three first-half carries and finished with 58 yards. His NCAA record for successive 100-yard rushing games beginning a career will stand at nine.

And Peterson's Heisman Trophy hopes may have ended Saturday, while those of quarterback Jason White picked up steam.

White threw a perfect pass to Willie Roberts in the back of the end zone for the Sooners' first touchdown from the 13, and he tossed a 4-yarder to Brandon Jones, making it 23-0 in the second quarter.

White completed 29 of 35 for 383 yards and three touchdowns. He ended the first half with 11 straight completions and started the second half with seven more. The 18 straight set a school record.

“He plays with so much poise,” Oklahoma wide receiver Mark Bradley said. “He's a director out there, and whatever he says, we do.”

Cory Ross finished with 130 rushing yards, becoming the first Nebraska running back to surpass 1,000 yards in a season since 2001 before leaving the game in the fourth quarter with a rib cage injury. That about wrapped up the highlights for the Cornhuskers, who finished winless in conference road games for the first time since 1959.

On the line in Nebraska's finale, besides a shot at the division championship, is bowl eligibility.

The Cornhuskers must defeat Colorado on Nov. 26 to extend their NCAA record of consecutive bowl seasons to 37. It will mark the first time Nebraska has entered a season finale needing to win to qualify for postseason play.

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