Sad updates:Initiator of One of the Most Iconic Nebraska Cornhuskers Defensive Plays Dies Unexpectedly…Read more.

The architect of one of the most iconic defensive plays in Nebraska Cornhuskers history has suddenly passed away at the age of 62 in Lincoln, Nebraska. Nebraska defensive back Neil Harris was crucial in stopping the Oklahoma Sooners, Nebraska’s biggest rival at the time, on the final play of the drive.

Neil Harris is a part of the deep history between the Nebraska Cornhuskers and Oklahoma Sooners


The rivalry between the Nebraska Cornhuskers and Oklahoma Sooners is essential to the history of college football. These two powerhouse programs of the 20th century frequently clashed in some of the most memorable games of their seasons. The 1971 game, dubbed the “Game of the Century,” featured the No. 1 Nebraska Cornhuskers against the No. 2 Oklahoma Sooners. During this matchup, Nebraska wide receiver Johnny Rodgers made a legendary punt return, creating one of the most iconic plays in college football history.

For the entire decade of the 1970s, there was only two instances in which there was a team in the matchup ranked outside of the top 10. In 1970, the No. 3 Cornhuskers took on the unranked Sooners. In 1977, the No. 3 Sooners took on the No. 11 ranked Cornhuskers. Aside from those games, every matchup in that decade was a top-10 matchup.


High-ranked matchups continued throughout the 1980s until the Sooners had some down years in the 90s while the Cornhuskers produced some of the best teams in college football history. Then, the reverse happened as the rivalry found its way into the 21st century.

With a shakeup in the Big 12, the two teams stopped playing every single year, causing the rivalry to fade. That was followed by Nebraska’s departure from the Big 12, which caused the rivalry to almost completely dissipate. Still, there are many iconic moments from one of the greatest rivalries in sports, like the iconic play made by defensive back Neil Harris in the early 1980s.

Nebraska Cornhuskers defensive back Neil Harris is known for his one play against the Oklahoma Sooners

Nebraska defensive back Neil Harris was crucial to keeping the National Championship dream alive for the Cornhuskers late in the 1983 season. The No. 1 Cornhuskers were battling the unranked Sooners in a rainy game in Norman, Okla.

The trio of quarterback Turner Gill, wide receiver Irving Fryar, and running back Mike Rozier had the Huskers leading 28-21 in the final quarter as heavy rain poured down on Owen Field. Facing a third and nine, the Sooners were just 10 yards away from scoring and jeopardizing the Huskers’ championship hopes, which had been out of reach for over a decade.

Sooners quarterback Danny Bradley launched a pass at the goal line. There was a collision between Harris and the Oklahoma receiver, which caused Sooners fans to beg for pass interference. They wouldn’t get it, but the Sooners would get another shot.


Bradley launched another pass, this time it was a fade to the corner of the end zone. Harris made a play on the high-lofted ball and saved the title hopes of the Nebraska Cornhuskers as they headed into December.

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