InsideNebraska - 16 for '16: 'Black 41 Flash Reverse' goes down in Husker history
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16 for '16: 'Black 41 Flash Reverse' goes down in Husker history

When No. 1 Oklahoma came to Lincoln to take on No. 2 Nebraska on Oct. 27, 2001, it marked the most anticipated showdown of the season. It also was billed as one of the highlights in arguably the best rivalry in college football.

Needless to say, the game lived up to every bit of that hype, and "Black 41 Flash Reverse" will forever be a fixture in Husker history.

On a day dominated by defense, it took what is now considered one of the best trick plays in Husker history to break things open in the fourth quarter and lift NU to a 20-10 victory over the Sooners.

Nebraska’s win snapped the Sooners’ 20-game winning streak, moved the Huskers into sole possession of the No. 1 spot in the BCS standings, and provided the defining Heisman moment for star senior quarterback Eric Crouch.

Eric Crouch's 63-yard touchdown catch in the fourth quarter helped upset No. Oklahoma and served as his signature Heisman Trophy moment.
Eric Crouch's 63-yard touchdown catch in the fourth quarter helped upset No. Oklahoma and served as his signature Heisman Trophy moment.
Associated Press

How it went down

After a scoreless first quarter that saw a combined 19 punts and a an interception, Oklahoma got on the board first with a touchdown pass from quarterback Nate Hybl early in the second quarter.

Nebraska answered right back with an 80-yard drive and tied it up on a 2-yard touchdown run by I-back Dahrran Diedrick, and then took its first lead on a 27-yard field goal by kicker Josh Brown with 2:36 left in the half.

Oklahoma would send it into halftime tied up at 10-10, but the Blackshirts kept the Sooners out of the end zone despite OU getting three shots from the Huskers’ 2-yard line and still failing to cross the goal line.

A second field goal by Brown reclaimed the lead for NU to open the third quarter. During the drive, I-back Thunder Collins ripped off a 39-yard run on a play in which he started lined up in the flat and came in motion to take a handoff from Crouch going the other direction.

That play would take on much bigger significance later on in the fourth quarter.

With the Huskers still clinging to a 13-10 lead, an incidental facemask penalty on Oklahoma defensive end Cory Heinecke nullified a 7-yard loss by Crouch on third down, turning what looked to be an NU punt into a first down at its 37-yard line with 6:17 left in the game.

That’s when head coach Frank Solich reached into his bag of tricks and called "Black 41 Flash Reverse”, a play his team had only installed in the play book that week and had practiced no more than eight times.

Just as Collins had done earlier on his 39-yard run, he lined up in the slot and then motioned towards the ball just before the snap. Crouch handed off to Collins, but this time he flipped the ball to true freshman Mike Stuntz, who was running back the other direction.

Stuntz, a former high school quarterback who had moved to wide receiver during fall camp, gathered himself and set up to throw. Little did Oklahoma’s defense realize - or most anyone else in the stadium, for that matter - that Crouch had slipped out and was streaking wide-open down the left sideline.

Stuntz delivered a perfect left-handed spiral right into Crouch’s arms for a 63-yard touchdown that all but put the game away and served as some much-needed vindication for Husker fans who had seen “Sooner Magic” steal so many victories in years past.

The Blackshirts took care of the rest from there, capping off a dominant performance in which they intercepted two passes, sacked Sooner quarterbacks Hybl and Jason White (who left the game with an injury) three times, and held Oklahoma to its lowest point total in 42 games.

Nebraska's defense made life miserable for Oklahoma's quarterbacks all game long, holding the Sooners to their lowest point total in three seasons.
Nebraska's defense made life miserable for Oklahoma's quarterbacks all game long, holding the Sooners to their lowest point total in three seasons.
Associated Press

They said it

"They talk about all the trick plays that NU and OU have run through the years, and we even talked about them during meetings this week. They showed us some highlight tapes of the 'fumbleroosky' and things like that. They kept showing some of those plays during the game (on HuskerVision). I thought to myself, 'What if this one is shown up there years from now?'"

-- Mike Stuntz, Nebraska wide receiver

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"It's difficult to call that play to some degree. At that point, when you're up by three, your tendency is for ball control. But Oklahoma is such a great defensive team that if you don't take a few chances, if you don't make a few calls, you're not going to move the ball at all. You have to be willing to run them. Sometimes they'll make you look pretty good. Sometimes they'll make you look pretty bad.”

-- Frank Solich, Nebraska head coach

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"No matter what happened, I knew we were going to get the job done. It wasn’t finesse. It wasn’t 500 or 600 yards, but we got the job done when we needed to. We had the drives and had the big play, and that’s what got us the win. It’s nice to show our critics that we can win the big game."

-- Eric Crouch, Nebraska quarterback

16 for '16 archive 

1996: Nebraska 62, Florida 24

2008: Suh's INT helps Huskers bull over Buffaloes

2000: Big Red invasion takes over Notre Dame Stadium

2005: Husker run past Michigan in Alamo Bowl thriller

1958: Nebraska's greatest upset victory in program history

2006: Purify, Huskers stun No. 24 Texas A&M

1925: Nebraska takes down the Notre Dame Four Horsemen a second time

2013: 'The Westercatch'

1992: Huskers take down Kansas State in Tokyo

2011: Huskers have biggest second half comeback in school history vs. Ohio State