Nationals

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.''

---

AP Sports Writer Jeff Latzke contributed to this report.

Quick Links

Stephen Strasburg makes history at the plate against Atlanta

stephen_strasburg_nationals_pitching_usat.jpg
USA Today

Stephen Strasburg makes history at the plate against Atlanta

Stephen Strasburg had the best hitting performance of his career against the Braves Thursday night, going 3-3 at the plate with two singles and a 420-foot three-run bomb. 

He didn't just set personal records but reached rare air in baseball history. He's the second pitcher ever with at least three hits, a HR, and five RBI since the DH debuted in 1973 and the fifth pitcher in the last 50 seasons to get two hits in an inning including a home run. 

Strasburg set franchise firsts with his performance, dating all the way back to the Expos. 

An extraordinary milestone for the Nationals' ace, hopefully Strasburg's performance will inspire the team during a crucial four-game series with Atlanta. 

MORE NATIONALS NEWS:

Quick Links

‘The Redskins love Alabama guys’: Washington could run old draft playbook in 2020 to fill huge need

jerry-jeudy-henry-ruggs-usat.jpg
USA TODAY Sports Images

‘The Redskins love Alabama guys’: Washington could run old draft playbook in 2020 to fill huge need

Perhaps no position group on the Redskins has more questions or uncertainty than the wide receivers.

Josh Doctson enters the final year of his rookie contract, and has yet to record over 550 yards in any of his three professional seasons. Washington signed Paul Richardson to a five-year deal in 2018, but he just played in just seven games for the Burgundy and Gold in 2018 before having season-ending shoulder surgery. Second-year receiver Trey Quinn is expected to fill the role in the slot after Jamison Crowder departed for the New York Jets this offseason but has yet to prove anything on the NFL level. 

The Redskins addressed the position during the 2019 NFL Draft, selecting Terry McLaurin in the third round and Kelvin Harmon in the sixth round. But it's unclear how much either one will contribute to the Washington offense in 2019.

So, it's likely the Redskins will need to address the position during the 2020 NFL Draft, and probably very early on it. Well, this works in Washington's favor, because the 2020 wide receiver class is loaded. 

On a recent episode of the Redskins Talk podcast, J.P. Finlay and Pete Hailey spoke with NFL Draft expert Jordan Reid (no, not the Redskins' tight end) about the top wide receiver prospects heading into next year's draft, and which players the Redskins could potentially target.

Before diving into the top 2020 prospects, Reid gave an initial assessment of the current Redskins' receivers.

"The Redskins just don't have that headliner, top go-to guy," Reid said. "They were expecting Josh Doctson to be that when they did draft him in the first round of 2016. But he's had some injuries, and he's already come out and said he's looking forward to free agency. That just not something you want to hear."

Reid was high on McLaurin, though, the first receiver the Redskins selected in 2019.

"They drafted Terry McLaurin in the third round, I liked him a lot even going back to the Senior Bowl," he said. "I think he's going to have a really good year, not just as a receiver but the special teams phase as well. He's going to flash in a lot of ways."

As far as the 2020 draft wide receiver class, one school stands on top, and it's a school the Redskins are very familiar with: Alabama. The Redskins used their first-round picks in 2017 and 2018 on 'Bama guys and signed another Crimson Tide alumni this offseason in safety Landon Collins.

"We know the Redskins love Alabama guys, and there's a lot of [wide receivers] coming out this year," Reid said. "It's not just Jerry Jeudy, Henry Ruggs is another guy that's getting a lot of steam. They're going to have the chance to get the receiver they want. This is a very special wide receiver class."

Crimson Tide receiver Jerry Jeudy is the consensus top receiver in next year's class, but Reid believes his speedy teammate could challenge him for that spot by season's end.

"With Ruggs, I think he's a bit more as far as polished a route runner [than Jeudy]," he said. "I think his hands are a bit better, and I wouldn't be shocked if he runs below a 4.3 at the combine. He can absolutely fly."

If the pair of Alabama receivers currently hold the top two spots for best wide receiver prospect, there's another guy who's right on their heels: Oklahoma's Ceedee Lamb.

"He reminds me a lot of DeAndre Hopkins coming out," Reid said on Lamb. "He's not a thick guy, but he plays much stronger than what he indicates. Very reliable hands, and his body control is out of this world. He had a one-handed catch against UCLA, it didn't count, but it's truly amazing."

As a true sophomore, Lamb totaled 1,158 yards and 11 touchdowns in 2018. Sure, it may have helped to have Heisman Trophy winner Kyler Murray under center, but Lamb has proven he's an elite talent.

Two other prospects Reid is keeping an eye on are Colorado's Laviska Shenault Jr. and Texas' Collin Johnson.

"He's not as polished as some of these other guys, but he's more of a do-it-all type of receiver," Reid said on Shenault Jr. 

Where Shenault may be a do-it-all receiver, Johnson plays to his 6'6 size.

"He's a really good route runner," Reid said on Johnson. "It's just a matter of how consistently can he separate, and how fast he is. If he goes to the Senior Bowl, I think he can light it up."

While many of these guys seem like sure-fire guys, there's still a full season of football to be played before the draft. Players will rise, but just as many, if not more, will fall off.

"You just have to let this play out, that's what happens with the draft process," Reid said. "Guys fall off, and then you have guys that come out of nowhere. Quinton Williams from last year is a prime example. He was a 270-pound defensive end at this time last year; we had no idea who he was and he ends up being the No. 3 overall selection."

But if everything plays out close to how it's expected to, this wide receiver draft class will be one to remember. 

"This class is special man," Reid said. "I think it's going to rival 2014, with Odell Beckham Jr., Sammy Watkins, Mike Evans and all those guys, Jarvis Landry, Davante Adams too. It's going to be very similar to that. It's very special."

MORE REDSKINS NEWS: