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Nebraska, Oklahoma agree to 2021-22 football games

Nebraska, Oklahoma agree to 2021-22 football games

Nebraska and Oklahoma will renew one of college football's greatest rivalries for two seasons.

The schools announced Thursday they have signed a contract that will have the Cornhuskers and Sooners play in 2021 in Norman, Okla., and in 2022 in Lincoln, Neb. Both games will be in September.

``I think it's a great deal,'' said Johnny Rodgers, the 1972 Heisman Trophy winner from Nebraska. ``So many people really miss Oklahoma and Nebraska because they kind of grew up with it on Thanksgiving. It was the most viewed of games.''

The Huskers and Sooners played 71 straight seasons as members of the Big Six and Big Eight. The game decided the Big Eight championship 31 times in 36 seasons.

The teams moved to the Big 12 in 1996 and met twice every four years. Nebraska went to the Big Ten in 2011.

Oklahoma leads the series 45-38-3, having won the teams' last meeting 23-20 in the 2010 Big 12 championship game.

``Classic rivalries like Oklahoma-Nebraska are part of college football's historic fabric,'' Sooners athletic director Joe Castiglione said. ``The ability to rekindle a fabled series between two tradition-rich programs and two extremely loyal and passionate fan bases was very important to both universities.

Of all the memorable Oklahoma-Nebraska meetings, the most talked-about one remains the 1971 ``Game of the Century.'' Top-ranked Nebraska beat No. 2 Oklahoma 35-31 in Norman in what is still considered one of the greatest college games of all time. The Huskers went on to capture their second straight national championship.

The `71 game started a run of NU-OU games from 1971-88 in which both teams were ranked in the top 11 of The Associated Press poll in 17 of 19 meetings.

Rodgers, whose electrifying 72-yard punt return for a touchdown was the signature play of the Game of the Century, said he was sad when the rivalry ended.

``I'm glad we have all the good memories that can take us up to the next one (in 2021),'' he said. ``People still demand to see this game played. I guess that's why we're playing it again.''

The 2021 game in Norman will commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Game of the Century.

Nebraska athletic director Tom Osborne, an assistant under Bob Devaney from 1962-72 and Hall of Fame head coach from 1973-97, participated in 36 of the 86 games.

``Those matchups were always played with great intensity on the field,'' he said, ``but with a great deal of respect from both sides and among the fan bases.''

Game dates are Sept. 18, 2021 in Norman and Sept. 17, 2022 in Lincoln.

Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops said he didn't know if he would be coaching in the games, but he's happy they're on the schedule.

``There may be some other old boy worried about that one,'' he said. ``Hopefully I am. But, heck, I don't know... I think it's great. We've always played tough nonconference games, so why not bring back a rival and have a go at it a couple more times?''

Rodgers will be 70 years old when that first game is played, and he plans to be there.

``I look forward to being able to go,'' he said, laughing, ``even though I might be wheeling my way into the stadium.''

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AP Sports Writer Jeff Latzke contributed to this report.

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3 reasons why the Caps beat the Sabres

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3 reasons why the Caps beat the Sabres

You may think this was an ugly four-game road trip for the Caps, but with a 3-2 win in Buffalo on Monday, Washington managed to earn five out of a possible eight points.

Here is why the Caps beat the Sabres and managed to save the road swing.

A missed high-stick (maybe) from Ovechkin

Ovechkin scored the first goal of the game in the second period as he deflected a high-shot from Christian Djoos down past goalie Chad Johnson. But did the deflection come on a high stick? The play was reviewed and the goal was ultimately upheld. According to the NHL, it was determined that "video review supported the Referee's call on the ice that Alex Ovechkin's stick was at or below the height of the crossbar when he tipped the puck into the Buffalo net."

NBC Sports Washington analyst Alan May broke the play down during the second intermission and made his case for why the NHL actually got the call wrong.

Was that a high stick? I don't know. As compelling an argument as May made, it still looks inconclusive which means the review made the right call. What surprises me is that the referee did not disallow the goal on the initial call.

Whether the review is truly inconclusive or flat out wrong, Washington was fortunate to walk away from this sequence with the goal.

MORE CAPITALS: BIZARRE SEQUENCE LEADS TO CAPS SCORING AND GETTING PENALIZED AT THE SAME TIME

A centimeter of ice

Hockey is a game of inches and it took less than an inch to put Washington up 2-0. When an Evgeny Kuznetsov shot hit off the boards and bounced back to the front of the net, it sparked a scrum next to goalie Chad Johnson. Eventually, John Carlson was able to get a swipe on the puck sending it trickling to the goal line, but Kyle Okposo was there waiting and appeared to kick it out to safety just before it crossed. A review triggered by the Situation Room, however, revealed that the puck had just barely managed to cross the goal line before Okposo got to it.

Here's the view the NHL released after the review:

Philipp Grubauer's third period

After dominating the first 40 minutes of the game and taking a 2-0 lead, Buffalo predictably made a late push in the third period with two goals to pull within one. Washington outshot the Sabres in the first and second periods, but Buffalo reversed that trend in a big way in the third as they outshot the Caps 17-6. Grubauer turned aside 15 of those shots and was impressive after barely being tested in the first two periods.

RELATED: CHECK OUT THE 3 STARS OF THE GAME FROM CAPS-SABRE

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3 stars of the game: Caps knockout the punchless Sabres

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3 stars of the game: Caps knockout the punchless Sabres

Coming off an ugly 7-1 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks, a Buffalo Sabres team missing star Jack Eichel was just what the doctor ordered for the Caps to get back on track. Washington dominated the first two periods and then survived a late surge from Buffalo for the 3-2 win.

After battling to a scoreless first, Alex Ovechkin and John Carlson spotted Washington a 2-0 lead in the second. They then held on in the third period as Buffalo began to tilt the ice in their favor, with Evgeny Kuznetsov scoring the empty-netter to put this game out of reach. Evander Kane would pull Buffalo within one, but with only three seconds left it was too little, too late.

Here are the three stars of the game:

1. Alex Ovechkin: Ovechkin opened up the scoring in the second period as he deflected down an innocent shot from Christian Djoos past Chad Johnson.

Ovechkin also set a physical tone as he battled with defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen all game long. After taking a high elbow from Ristolainen early in the game Ovechkin skated up to Ristolainen prior to the faceoff on his next shift and let him know that it was on. 

2. John Carlson: Carlson had a hand in both of Washington's first two goals. He recorded a secondary assist on Ovechkin's goal as he made a blue line pass to Djoos which Djoos fired on net and Ovechkin deflected. Carlson then managed to hit the puck past the goal line in a scrum next to Johnson. It looked initially like Kyle Okposo had managed to kick out the puck just before it crossed, but Carlson was awarded the goal as a review showed the puck had completely crossed the line.

3. Philipp Grubauer: A Sabres team that ranks last in the NHL in scoring and that was also without its leading scorer did not test Grubauer much in the first two periods. Facing a 2-0 deficit, however, Buffalo made a third period push to try to tie the game, but Grubauer was up to the task as he turned aside 15 of the 17 shots he faced in the final 20 minutes. He finished with 32 total saves on the night.