Countdown to kickoff looks at the 1997 National Champions

Our countdown to kickoff to Nebraska’s 2024 season continues with 97 days to go. With no, No. 97 on Nebraska’s roster for the upcoming season, Cornhuskers Wire takes a look back at the 1997 National Championship team.

The Cornhuskers in 1997 were in their 25th and final season under legendary head coach Tom Osborne. From the jump that year, it was complete dominance from the Huskers. They would start the season off with a 59-14 win over Akron before taking down UCF two weeks later.

They would face their first test of the season on September 20 in Seattle, taking on the No. 2 Washington Huskies. The Huskers entering that game were the No. 7 team in the country. The Huskies proved to not be much of a match for the Huskers, with Osborne’s team coming back to Lincoln with a 27-14 win.

A few weeks later, the Huskers would take on a second straight ranked opponent in the Kansas State Wildcats 56-26.

The dominance would continue after that win, with big wins over Baylor (49-21), Texas Tech (29-0), and Kansas (35-0).

In the first week of November, the Huskers would host the Oklahoma Sooners, delivering the Sooners their worst loss int he rivalry, a beating to the tune of 69-7. It also marked the final win of seven-straight for the Huskers from 1991 through 1997 over Oklahoma.

One week later was one of the most legendary games in Huskers history. The Flea Kicker game.

With just seven seconds left in the game, Huskers quarterback Scott Frost looked for Shevin Wiggins in the endzone. However, the pass would be broken up but while Wiggins was falling to the ground, he would kick the ball up in the air, allowing it to land in the hands of a diving Matt Davison for a touchdown. Kris Brown would nail the extra point and the Huskers would eventually win in overtime 45-38.

The Huskers next scare would come three weeks later on November 28 against Colorado as the Huskers narrowly escaped Boulder with a 27-24 win. After entering the fourth quarter with a 27-10 lead, the Buffaloes would score two touchdowns in the final five minutes of the game to cut the lead down to three but the Huskers were ultimately able to hold on.

After surviving the Buffaloes, the Huskers would defeat No. 14 Texas A&M in the Big 12 Championship game 54-15 before dominating No. 3 Tennessee in the Orange Bowl 42-17 to win the national championship.

Following the season, Tom Osborne who announced his retirement prior to the Orange Bowl officially hung up the headset. Additionally, two Huskers in Grant Wistrom and Aaron Taylor won national awards in the Lombardi Award and Outland Trophy respectively.

Over 30 members of the Huskers’ 1997 team would go onto play professional football in the NFL, CFL, or NFL Europe.

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Story originally appeared on Cornhuskers Wire