Nebraska 10, No. 20 Oklahoma 3
"I've had some great ones, but this ranks right up there," Nebraska's second-year coach said.
Matt O'Hanlon had three of the Huskers' five interceptions against Landry Jones, and they squeezed enough production out of their struggling offense to beat No. 20 Oklahoma 10-3 on Saturday night.
Nebraska snapped a four-game losing streak against its longtime rival.
"That game could have gone a lot of different ways, and we just found a way to hang in there and hang in there, and we made enough plays to win the football game," Pelini said.
The Sooners (5-4, 3-2 Big 12) failed to score a touchdown for the first time since a 29-0 loss to Texas A&M in 1998.
The Sooners had 325 total yards, but they moved inside the Nebraska 20 just once, turned over the ball three times on downs, missed two field goals and had another one blocked.
Then there were those interceptions.
Nebraska picked off five passes in a game for the first time since 2003 against Texas A&M, and O'Hanlon became the first Huskers player since 1979 to intercept three.
"They made the plays they needed to win the game," OU coach Bob Stoops said. "It would have been hard for our defense to play much better. Offensively, we moved the ball quite frequently, but we couldn't produce points. We didn't execute well enough or they'd execute better than we did in the red zone."
The Cornhuskers (6-3, 3-2) won despite getting just seven first downs and 180 total yards. They were able to get a yard when they really needed it, after Prince Amukamara returned an interception to the OU 1 in the second quarter. Zac Lee threw to Ryan Hill for Nebraska's fourth offensive TD in four games.
Oklahoma's last two possessions ended on interceptions, including O'Hanlon's third, which he grabbed at the Nebraska 7 with 27 seconds left.
O'Hanlon ran back his first interception 30 yards to set up Alex Henery's 28-yard field goal.
"Personally, it can't get much better," said O'Hanlon, who also had a team-leading 12 tackles.
Roy Helu Jr. ran for 138 yards on 20 carries for Nebraska, which beat Oklahoma for first time since 2001.
After Lee took a knee to end the game, Helu and a band of teammates dashed to the end zone stands to do their own version of the "Lambeau Leap" to celebrate with fans.
The Cornhuskers moved to within a half-game of first-place Kansas State in the Big 12 North race.
Jones, who completed his last 14 passes against Kansas State a week earlier, missed on 10 of his first 12 and finished 26 of 58 for 245 yards.
Jones' five interceptions came after a run of three games in which he completed 64 percent of his passes with seven touchdowns and three interceptions.
"Obviously, I'd like to have a couple of those plays back," he said. "I missed a couple of throws high. Goes over the receiver's head and the safety was right there. The ball was sailing on me a little bit."
Oklahoma turned the ball over on downs three times inside the Nebraska 25. Twice the Sooners were unable to convert fourth-and-1s at the 20, including one messed up by a false-start penalty on left tackle Trent Williams.
"Offensively, we took care of the football, and we were playing well defensively," Pelini said. "I just felt like we were in control. Even when they got down there close, I felt we were in good shape."
O'Hanlon dropped what looked to be a sure interception on the play before he picked off Jones to finish off the Sooners. O'Hanlon flung the ball into the air, drawing an excessive celebration penalty, and then the Huskers ran out the last few seconds.
Nebraska led 7-3 at half and had made only one first down.
Quarterback Cody Green, who made his first start in last week's 20-10 win at Baylor, led the Huskers' first five possessions. With the freshman in charge, the Huskers generated no first downs and 19 total yards.
Lee replaced Green after Amukamara's interception and connected with Hill for the touchdown on his first pass.
"How about our defense?" Lee said. "It's fun to watch when you have a defense like that. It's good to know as a quarterback that they can lock down a game."