Nebraska-Oklahoma provided stage for Black stars in ’70s

The Associated Press - September 18, 2021 8:05 am

FILE - In this Nov. 25, 1971, file photo, Nebraska's Johnny Rodgers (20) hugs an assistant coach on the sideline after his punt return for a touchdown against Oklahoma in the first quarter of college football game in Norman, Okla., on Thanksgiving Day. The game on Thanksgiving 50 years ago is back in the spotlight as Nebraska and Oklahoma renew their rivalry on Saturday, Sept. 18, 2021. (Lincoln Journal Star via AP, File)

NORMAN, Okla. (AP) — Half a century ago, the Nebraska-Oklahoma rivalry provided a grand stage for the best Black college football players while the South dragged its feet on integration. Nebraska and Oklahoma dominated with star athletes most schools in the South wouldn’t even recruit.

Nebraska and Oklahoma won two Associated Press national titles each between 1970 and 1975, with Black athletes playing critical roles.

The history is back in the spotlight this week as the two schools play each other again 50 years after their famous ‘Game of the Century.”


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