for this game

Kelly, Oklahoma beat Nebraska for Big 12 title

Dec 3, 2006 - 5:07 AM KANSAS CITY, Missouri (Ticker) -- Malcolm Kelly and No. 8 Oklahoma are heading to the desert on New Year's Day.

Kelly had 10 catches for 142 yards and two touchdowns as the Sooners beat 19th-ranked rival Nebraska, 21-7, in the Big 12 Conference championship game at Arrowhead Stadium.

Paul Thompson completed 19-of-34 passes for 265 yards and two TDs with one interception for the Sooners (11-2), who will face No. 10 Boise State in the Fiesta Bowl on January 1.

"It's fun to be in an exciting game, a championship game against a great rival like Nebraska," Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops said. "We played well, they played well."

"We wanted it more, we came together at the end," defensive back Lendy Holmes said. "It's a great feeling."

Oklahoma's Allen Patrick gained only 35 yards on 15 carries but opened the scoring with a two-yard TD run just 48 seconds into the game. It was the quickest score in Big 12 title game history.

The score came immediately after Cornhuskers receiver Maurice Purify fumbled at the Nebraska 10 after a hit by cornerback Marcus Walker and safety Reggie Smith picked up the fumble and returned it eight yards.

The Big 12 North Division champion Sooners doubled their advantage on a 66-yard scoring strike from Thompson to Kelly later in the opening quarter, and the duo connected on a three-yard TD that capped the scoring with 1:25 to play in the third quarter.

The latter score ended an 11-play drive that covered a Big 12 championship game-record 99 yards.

Kelly, who set Big 12 title game records for catches and receiving yards, has 422 receiving yards and four TDs on 27 catches in his last four games.

"It was a just good week of preparation," Kelly said. "There wasn't much else to it. We just took whatever they gave us."

Zac Taylor went 23-of-50 for 282 yards and a touchdown but was intercepted three times for the Cornhuskers (9-4), who won the Big 12 South to earn their first appearance in the conference title game since 1999. Taylor had thrown just four interceptions in their first 12 games this season.

"We covered really well all night," Stoops said of his defense. "I don't think we let them get loose. I just wish we could have got a little more pressure on the quarterback."

In all, the Cornhuskers turned the ball over five times and the Sooners just once.

"I'm very disappointed," Taylor said. "When the defense gets three-and-out like that and holds them, we need to take advantage of that field position. Personally, I threw a couple interceptions down there in the red zone that hurt us. They did a good job disguising their coverage."

The Sooners lead the series against their old Big Eight Conference rivals, 43-37-3, but the teams no longer meet every year since they are in separate divisions of the Big 12. Oklahoma posted a 31-24 win in Lincoln in 2005, but the schools did not meet during the regular season this year.

Nebraska's only score came on a 14-yard pass from Taylor to Hunter Teafatiller with 4:37 left in the first half.

"Credit to Oklahoma, they played a heck of a game," Cornhuskers coach Bill Callahan said. "We spotted them some points early and you can't do that with a team like Oklahoma. They out coached us, they outplayed us in every aspect of the game. They were just better than us today. I am proud of our kids."

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