Oklahoma wins AFC Championship With Miracle Comeback 30-28. (recap and pictures)

TODAY IN THE NJLMFL- AFC CHAMPIONSHIP GAME

OKLAHOMA LONGHORNS at OMAHA WRANGLERS

PRARIEVIEW STADIUM

This AFC Championship Game between two expansion franchises will go down as one of the greatest ever played in NJLMFL history. The Oklahoma Longhorns came from 18 points down in the fourth quarter to stun the Omaha Wranglers 30-28 and become the first AFC expansion franchise to reach a Super Bowl.

1st Half

The Omaha Wranglers won the coin toss to begin this historic battle. Oklahoma kicker Matt Prater duck hooked the opening kickoff out of bounds so Omaha began the game at midfield. The Wrangler offensive line bulldozed the Longhorns steadily backwards as running backs Lendale White and Matt Forte followed the massive human convoy. On the ninth play of the drive Forte slammed into the end zone from a yard out and Omaha led 7-0. The drive was just over 11 minutes long. Greg Pruitt returned the kick for Oklahoma to his own 37. The Longhorns went 3 and out after losing 4 yards on their first two runs and a mere 3 yard scramble by QB Bert Jones. The Omaha defense came bursting through the Oklahoma line like a sunami to force a punt. Omaha’s Troy Brown returned the punt to the Wranglers 34. On first down Omaha QB Colt McCoy hit Lendale White out of the backfield for a 17 yard gain to the Omaha 49 as the first quarter ended 7-0 Wranglers. After a 15 yard facemask penalty against the Wranglers pushed them back to their own 39 McCoy found White again and the big back stormed 61 yards for a TD and Omaha had a commanding 14-0 lead as Oklahoma looked outmatched. Things didn’t get any better when Pruitt muffed the kickoff and fell on the ball at the Oklahoma 18. Two runs by Duane Thomas got only 4 yards and put Oklahoma in a 3rd and 6 situation from their own 22. Bert Jones went back to pass but all of his receivers were blanketed by Omaha defenders. As Jones stepped up in the pocket a hole opened up so the veteran QB took off. At first Omaha had no idea Jones was running. With all the defenders locked up or out of bounds Jones had a wide open field ahead of him and took it all the way for a 78 yard TD. Just the spark Oklahoma needed and it was suddenly 14-7 midway through the quarter. After a touchback McCoy and the Omaha battering ram went back to business. McCoy hit White for 10 yards and Forte ran for 13 to the Omaha 43. On the next play Lendale White ran right and the Omaha linemen sent another salvo through the Oklahoma defense and White rumbled all the way to the Longhorns 10 for a 47 yard gain. Two plays later Matt Forte scored on a 3 yard run and Omaha was back up by 14 points at 21-7. The TD came with just :21 seconds left in the half. At the intermission Omaha was ahead 21-7 and Oklahoma went to the locker room behind and physically beaten up. Things were looking good for the Wranglers up 14 points and 30 minutes from the Super Bowl.

2nd Half

Oklahoma got the second half kick looking to get something going. Omaha kicker Mason Crosby helped out by sending the kick out of bounds just like Prater did to open the game. With the ball at the 50 Oklahoma had no choice but to become one dimensional and put the game in the hands of Bert Jones. Jones responded on 3rd and 6 with a 39 yard laser to WR Roddy White who took it to the Omaha 7 yard line. Omaha then pressured Jones into a short pass and then 2 passes that lost yardage back to the Omaha. Clinton Portis ran a draw play to the 5 and coach Barry Switzer had a decision to make. He decided to go for the points just to get something positive going. Matt Prated drilled a 22 yard FG to make it 21-10 with 6:21 to go in the 3rd. Praters line drive kickoff could not be handled by Troy Brown as he fell on the ball on the Omaha 8. This looked like the break Oklahoma needed. That thought vanished when Matt Forte took a handoff going left behind his powerful line who opened the way for the speedy back to go 92 yards for a crushing TD. Omaha went up 28-10. Omaha then forced Jones into an incompletion and then sacked him for an 8 yard loss and a 3 and out. Oklahoma punter Jarred Armstrong got them out of immediate danger when he rocketed the punt 74 yards for a touchback. Forte and White gained 9 yards on the first 2 plays as the quarter ended with Omaha up 28-10. Omaha was now just 15 minutes from the Championship and they got a little closer when Forte gained 4 yards to the 33 and a first down to begin the 4th quarter. On first and ten the game began to take its 360 degree turn when Forte fumbled and Oklahoma rookie Nick Fairly recovered on the Omaha 36. Bert Jones came out firing and hit Dwayne Bowe for 21 yards to the Omaha 15. Two plays later Jones hit RB Duane Thomas for a 12 yard TD and the score was 28-17 with 8:20 to go. Still down by 11 Barry Switzer called for a onsides kick but Lendale White recovered at the 40 and Oklahoma looked finished. On first down White was held to no gain but a hands to the face penalty gave Omaha a first down on the Oklahoma 30. Forte then ran twice getting the ball to the 22. On 3rd and 2 with just under 4 minutes to go Lendale White was stopped at the 21 bringing up a 4th and 1 and a decision for head coach Wade Phillips to make. Phillips sent on the field goal unit to try a 38 yard field goal to get the lead back up to 14. Crosby lined up for the kick and as the ball was snapped Oklahoma broke through the Omaha line. Crosby’s kick was blocked and Oklahoma recovered on the Longhorns 38 with 3:13 to go. On first down Jones again hit Roddy White for 12 yards to midfield. Two incomplete passes set up a 3rd and 10 for the Longhorns. Jones took a quick drop and found TE Riley Odoms open and Jones delivered one right on the numbers for a 21 yard gain and a huge first down at the Omaha 29. Oklahoma took its first time out with 2:34 left in the game. On the next play Jones scrambled around and finally threw for Thomas but missed. The officials notified both coaches of the 2:00 warning. Omaha was set in a short zone defense as Jones dropped back. Duane Thomas delayed then got open out of the backfield and Jones lofted a perfect pass that melted into the hands of Thomas who took it to the house for a 29 yd TD with 1:48 left. The score was now Omaha 28 Oklahoma 23. Switzer decided to go for 2 to cut the lead to 3. Jones again threw to Thomas but he was stopped short and the 2 point try was no good. This time everyone from Omaha to Oklahoma City knew another onsides kick was in order. Oklahoma kicker Matt Prater then chipped a short hopper that he recovered himself at the Oklahoma 42. Out came Bert Jones to face an Omaha defense that was now tiring. On first down Jones sent a lightning bolt to Odoms for 30 yards to the Omaha 28 and the Longhorns took their second time out with 1:13 to go. On the next play Jones threw and the outcome went to the intangible chart. Jones pass was tipped in the secondary but Roddy White made a diving catch at the Omaha 17 and Oklahoma used their final time out with 1:02 remaining. On the next play Jones was flushed from the pocket and his only open receiver was Duane Thomas. Jones got the ball to Thomas who was tackled at the Omaha 10 and the clock was running with 41 seconds to go. Oklahoma was able to get lined up and Jones spiked the ball with 16 seconds left. Jones knew anything on the next play short of the end zone and in bounds would leave Oklahoma short. Jones took the snap and looked for something short but there was nobody open. Jones had only one option left and that was to make a dash for the end zone. With 2 linemen in front of him and Clinton Portis came in from the left and the speedy back helped as he pushed his QB in the right direction. Jones crossed the goal line with just :02 left in the game and no penalty flags down. The capacity crowd in Omaha just watched their team blow an 18 point lead as Prater’s extra point split the uprights to make it 30-28. The Wranglers sent Forte back for the kick hoping for their own miracle. Prater was jacked up and sent the kick through the end zone for a touchback. Omaha had one last play from their own 20. Oklahoma sent 5 defenders back deep as McCoy dropped back. McCoy waited until the last possible second before he threw down the middle for Lendale White. White made the catch at his own 35 but had 5 defenders to get past. The first to arrive was Simon Fletcher who was able to bring the big back down with a text book tackle. The entire Oklahoma bench raced out to mob Fletcher who just put an exclamation point on the biggest 4th quarter comeback of all time. The miracle win made Oklahoma AFC Champions and the first of the new expansion teams to reach the Super Bowl. The large crowd except for Pack of Longhorn fans quietly exited the stadium as the Lamar Hunt Trophy was presented to Barry Switzer and the Oklahoma Longhorns.

Scoring
Oklahoma 0-7-3-20…..30
Omaha 7-14-7-0…..28

Stats
Oklahoma Omaha
6 First Downs 10
90 Rushing Yds. 235
177 Passing Yds. 115
267 Total Yards 350
10 Penalty Yds 15
0 Turnovers 1
Rushing

Oklahoma
Thomas 2- 4
Portis 3-2
Jones 5- 84 2 TDs

Omaha
White 8-88
Forte 11-147 3 TDs

Receiving
Oklahoma
R. White 3 – 62
Bowe 2 – 25
Odoms 2 – 41
Thomas 6- 51 2 TDs

Omaha
L. White 5-115 1TD

Passing

OKLHOMA- Jones 14-22-177- 2 TDs
OMAHA- McCoy 5-8-115- 1TD

Sacks Omaha-1

Game MVP- Bert Jones QB- Oklahoma

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