Shane Swanson returned a punt 49 yards with 8:51 left to break a 3-3 tie in the fourth period as No. 8 Nebraska defeated ninth-ranked Oklahoma State, 17-3, yesterday in Lincoln, Neb., extending its domination over the Cowboys to 23 years.
The Cornhuskers, shut out until Dale Klein's 36-yard field goal at 13:05 of the final quarter, added a clinching touchdown with 1:49 remaining. Backup quarterback Travis Turner, who directed the comeback, teamed with split end Jason Gamble on a 64-yard pass play.
Both teams have 4-1 records after their Big Eight opener.
"If you're going to win the close games, you have to play fundamentally sound, and we didn't play sound," Oklahoma State Coach Pat Jones said, referring to the Cowboys' one interception, two lost fumbles and several penalties, one of which wiped out a 43-yard touchdown pass late in the first period. "We thought we could come in and blow them off the line. I thought we could win the game, 3-0. I thought it was in the making."
Oklahoma State took a 3-0 lead 3:15 into the game when Larry Roach kicked a 40-yard field goal, the 62nd of his career. It came four plays after cornerback Mark Moore intercepted a pass by Craig Sundberg at Nebraska's 45 and returned it to the 29.
Nebraska got the break it needed when the Cornhuskers downed a punt at the Oklahoma State five with 11:11 remaining and forced the Cowboys to punt.
Swanson found an immediate hole, headed to his right and breezed to the end zone after faking punter Cary Cooper off his feet at the 25.