Cornhusker Classics: 1959 Nebraska vs. Oklahoma

It was one of the greatest victories ever enjoyed by Husker fans, but it didn’t win a conference championship or a bowl game or a national title.  Instead, Nebraska accomplished something that it’s other six Big 8 brothers couldn’t do for over a decade.  They beat Oklahoma.

The Sooners were 74-0-2 since 1946, they had dominated the 50’s and were enroute to another ho-hum victory in the Big 8 Conference when they entered Memorial Stadium in Lincoln on Halloween 1959.

They would exit with a loss.

Join KLIN’s John Bishop for a look back at one of the great moments in Husker football as we celebrate the 50th anniversary of Nebraska’s historic upset of the Sooners.  This special Thanksgiving Day edition of Cornhusker Classics will air at 6:00am and again at 9:00am Thursday, or you can listen on your computer by visiting our podcast site.

Hour One

Hour Two

Hour Three


5 Responses to Cornhusker Classics: 1959 Nebraska vs. Oklahoma

  1. searay says:

    Is any part of this a video? I assume the links are the same programs we would hear on Thursday? Thx.

  2. steve lamb says:

    Thanks a lot for offering this! I was at the game and ran onto the field at the closing gun. It was nice to remember the thrill. Just one correction…it was the Big 7 at the time, not the Big 8.

  3. WOW…I remember this game like it was yesterday. I just had turned 11 years old when I attended this game on Halloween Day (October 31, 1959) in Lincoln with my Dad (Ed Tollefsen) and my grandfather (Al Tollefsen)…we were all from Kearney. I remember my Dad asking me if I wanted to go to the game that morning because no one else wanted to drive to Lincoln because…everyone thought the Huskers would be be beaten badly.

    I has seen my first Husker game in 1957 or 1958 and my favorite player was Harry Tolly of North Platte. I think his uniform number was “21”. My nickname in school in Kearney and later at UNL was “Tolly”…so of course, Harry Tolly was my hero back then. Tolly was the starting QB on offense and a DB on defense and I liked that he was from North Platte (like my being from Kearney).

    I remember Pat Fisher, Carroll Zuruba, Don Fricke, Ron McDole, Lee Zenith, and of course Harry Tolly. The old scoreboard and red and white clock on the old NU field house on the north end. The stands were not completely full and only the west and east stadiums existed, plus the knothole section in the south end. I sat in section 27, on the west side which was much better for me than my usual knothole bleacher seat. Knothole seat were $1 I think and were on wooden or metal bleachers. I remember a sunny day…but could be wrong about that.

    The crowd was really into the game from the very beginning and grew louder and louder as the game moved on especially…in the fourth quarter. I remember toward the end of the game, we just wanted to hang on and run the clock out…which we did.

    I remember both the goal posts being torn down and taken around and around the field in the stadium by the students. Later…I read the goal posts were taken to the front yard of the Nebraska Governor’s Mansion. I think the Oklahoma locker room was located in the east stadium in the lower corner on the south end.

    After the game I didn’t want to leave the stadium after the game, nor did the other fans and students as I remember. I remember my Dad saying to me…”Tay, you just saw Nebraska football history” and he was sure right. I also remember the Lincoln Hotel (bathroom stop), Lebsacks Beer Joint were we had cheese sandwiches for lunch and Dad’s fraternity house…Phi Gamma Delta on “R” street.

    Go Big Red!
    Tay Tollefsen
    UNL 71′

  4. johnnybish1 says:


    You are correct, for most of Oklahoma’s streak, it was the “Big 7 Conference.” But when this game was played, Oklahoma A&M (now State) had joined the conference (in 1958) and thus “Big 8 Conference” was the accepted moniker. The league officially took on the “Big 8 Conference” title in 1964.

    Enjoy the memories!

  5. RC100 says:

    “Thanks For The Memories…” I remember this game very well, also. I, with my wife and son, had just moved back to Lincoln after a two year absence and were listening to the game on the radio. About the end of the third quarter or early fourth quarter, I sensed an upset of historic proportions in the making. So I jumped in the car and went down to the stadium in time to catch the last few minutes of the game from the grass fields in the south end zone area. When the last pass was intercepted, I knew the goal posts were doomed. They were taken down to the Governor’s mansion, and later cut up and made into souvenirs. Also, the University declared the following Monday a holiday. This game, the OU game in 1971, and the bowl game against Florida are the most memorable games in my book.

    LNE ’52, ‘UNL 57

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