Former Husker Kinney reflects on 50th anniversary of Game of the Century between Nebraska & Oklahoma

Posted at 8:12 PM, Sep 17, 2021

NORMAN (KMTV) — When it comes to the Game of the Century between Nebraska & Oklahoma, most Husker fans have seen the most electrifying play of the game and arguably in NU football history: Johnny Rodgers' 72 yard punt return. It may have been the first score of the game but it was McCook native Jeff Kinney, who had the last score on a two yard touchdown run with less than two minutes remaining, giving Nebraska the 35-31 win.

"The game itself took on a life of its own," Kinney said Friday, 50 years following that showdown.

The 72-year-old Kinney now lives in the Kansas City area and still remembers the day well having carried the ball a surprising 31 times for 174 yards and four touchdowns.

"We originally wanted to throw the ball more than we did," said Kinney. "I think we were more conservative in the second half and try to control."

That day, Kinney went through two tearaway jerseys, which according to him was the first time the Huskers had ever worn tearaways.

"My dad came out to the middle of the field and took my jersey the last I heard it was in a barbershop where I got my haircut and went to high school," Kinney said.

Besides the win itself, Kinney says the scene when arriving back to Nebraska was even better.

"We didn't really understand the magnitude," said Kinney. "But when you got back to Lincoln saw 30,000 people on the runway not just at the airport but out on the runway the plane stops lets us get off the plane walk through the crowd, it was a thrill for us."

#3 Oklahoma hosts Nebraska at 11 a.m. on Saturday in Norman on Fox.