It's just a football game. No game's worth an eternal nap six feet under a bed of roses.That's what Don Bryant kept telling himself as he stood on the sidelines of Owen Field in Norman, Okla., one murky Thanksgiving Day 30 years ago."I remember standing on the sidelines during the final drive thinking, 'It's just a football game. Don't have a heart attack right here on the sideline,'" said Bryant, Nebraska's sports information director in 1971. With all due respect to Bryant, a heart attack over a football game? That seems a little extreme.The thing is, this wasn't just a football game. Telling someone who witnessed the 1971 Nebraska-Oklahoma "Game of the Century" that it was just another football game is like telling a Porsche owner that his car resembles a Ford Pinto.Every football game is as unique as a snowflake, and there is a list of games that could be argued as the greatest college football game ever. But ultimately, the 1971 Nebraska-Oklahoma game always moves its way from the dusty cobwebs of one's imagination until it rolls off the lips of fans and experts alike as the greatest college football game ever played. Talk to Jeff Kinney, Nebraska's hard-nosed running back that Thanksgiving day, and you'll find out why."Mr. Kinney, what's your greatest memory of that game?"As Kinney answers and tells you he remembers the 30,000 people greeting the victorious Cornhuskers at Lincoln Municipal Airport, it's easy to sense that maybe he is tired of talking about this game that happened 30 years ago. He's polite, but one has to wonder if he's thinking, "We won 35-31. Get over it."But then Kinney begins to talk about his emotions leading up to that game and before you know it, you're discussing it like it was played last Saturday.The 72-yard Johnny Rodgers punt return for a touchdown. The emotion in the Nebraska locker room as the Huskers trailed for the first time all season. The game-winning touchdown Kinney scored. You're talking about it and losing your senses at the same time.The more Kinney talks, the more he extinguishes himself from his present lifestyle. He becomes a 21-year-old child again, one of the brightest stars in a game that was the center of the college football universe.As he talks, it's easy to visualize the scene that Thanksgiving Day. You can feel the tension. You can hear the roar of the crowd. You can hear scalpers' voices bellowing on the street corners nestled beside OU's Memorial Stadium.You can hear the drums take off and then that pure trumpet sound hits the air, surely similar to the sound Joshua's seven priests used to tumble down the walls of Jericho. And then those devilish words that cause Nebraskans to toss and turn at night ... "Boomer Sooner ... Boomer Sooner ... Boomer Sooner ... Boomer Sooner."Nebraskans easily put Oklahoma's fight song to bed by drifting off into remembrance of "the play." To this day, the greatest play of that game in most minds is Rodgers' punt return that gave Nebraska a 7-0 lead. Rodgers splendidly stumbled and wove his way to the end zone. He all but won the next year's Heisman Trophy right then and there as he danced in the end zone and then he walked over to the sideline and puked to celebrate. What a tremendous tale.To many Oklahomans though, that Rodgers return made them sick to their stomach."The game had some controversial plays," said Bob Barry, the voice of the Sooners since 1961. "There were two alleged clips around these parts on the Rodgers return."Clips? This must be news to Nebraskans. Thirty years later and you're going to bring the clip theory into play? Still questioned in the southern plains is a block delivered downfield on OU running back and punter Joe Wylie and the touchdown springing block delivered by NU cornerback Joe Blahak."From my vantage point, I saw a clip or two," Oklahoma quarterback Jack Mildren said. "But as my father the philosopher always said, 'I didn't see a flag. Did you?'"Not surprisingly, Kinney said the play was clean. Even Wylie admitted he was only "half-blocked" anyway. Wylie said his falling down on the play can be more attributed to a half-dive attempt to tackle the slippery Rodgers.The clip theory would never stand in court, but Wylie can take solace from not being the last punter to give a half-hearted attempt at tackling a return man in order to save face.Rodgers' return started the game off with a bang, but in reality, the bang had begun in Norman more than a week before it was played."I've never seen so much hype surround one football game," Barry said. "Obviously, there aren't the cable channels and everything there is now, but still I've never seen a game with such an enormous buildup."With so much attention on this game and with the livelihood of an entire state hanging in the balance, Nebraska's football team wasn't taking any chances."We brought our own food," Bryant said. "We weren't going to risk being hit by a case of food poisoning."So Husker players wolfed down Nebraska steaks that week and all was well aside from the disheartening thought that someone, either No. 1 Nebraska or No. 2 Oklahoma, was going to have a loss come Thursday evening.By halftime, it was evident the mighty Huskers had met their match, as they trailed 17-14. Nebraska was behind thanks to the passing combination Jack Mildren to wide receiver Jon Harrison."Our coaches were actually coming down from the booth to the locker room and I told Jack, 'Hit me on a post,'" Harrison said.Mildren did just that, hitting Harrison on two long passes, the second giving OU the halftime lead, causing euphoria to set in on the Sooner locker room.Meanwhile, Kinney said the Nebraska locker room was a less cordial place to be. Nebraska Coach Bob Devaney hurled some unrepeatable material at his players.Nebraska players must've taken Devaney's words to heart. The Huskers came out of the locker room ablaze."It was the first time we had been behind all season, but we felt pretty confident," Nebraska quarterback Jerry Tagge said. "We had been moving the ball at the end of the first half, and we were an experienced team."Before Nebraska fans could go back for second helpings of turkey and dressing, NU had forged to a 28-17 lead behind Jeff Kinney.But Oklahoma, of course, would come back.Fittingly, OU regained a 31-28 lead on a Mildren touchdown. Oklahoma's wishbone attack would compile 467 total yards against Nebraska. Mildren would throw two touchdown passes and run for another two scores.The only success story on the Nebraska defense that day belonged to Nebraska defensive tackle Rich Glover, who accumulated 22 tackles. Despite Glover's heroics, NU's offense took the field down by three with 7:10 to go but full of confidence.Tagge knew where his boys were headed. The end zone."We were really moving the ball with Jeff on the off-tackle stuff," Tagge said. "We just didn't want to turn the ball over and didn't want to give Oklahoma the ball with too much time."Conserving time was the last thing on Tagge's mind when NU faced a third-and-eight at OU's 46-yard line. On the play, Tagge scrambled away from the pressure and flipped a pass out to Rodgers, who was just beyond the first-down marker."That play was all helped by the experience I had with Johnny," Tagge said. "Everyone on that offense sensed where to go. I threw it where we had to get, and Johnny was there."First down, Nebraska."Oh Lord, here they go again," Mildren thought. "You were just hoping for a turnover or anything."No such luck. From there, Nebraska would go off-tackle with Kinney all the way down the field, into the end zone. With l:38 left, Kinney slammed in for a two-yard touchdown plunge that capped the century's finest game.Kinney said the significance of that touchdown didn't really dawn on him until he sat in the team airplane that couldn't reach the terminal because of the overflow of fans at the airport."For what it was, just a touchdown ... It changed people's lives," Kinney said.Tagge said it was as sweet as any win he had been a part of."I really don't feel Oklahoma lost the football game that day. We just happened to win the game. It epitomizes what college football is."Go to Nebraska or Oklahoma, and to this day, people will still spark up a conversation about the "Game of the Century."They will talk about the Rodgers run. They will talk about the Kinney game-winning touchdown. They will talk about how both teams left everything on the football field that day."People just seem to remember where they were that day," Kinney said.How often does an event happen where people remember exactly what they were doing when it occurred? And how often does is it occur in sports?Well, one of those rare events happened on a Thanksgiving Day 30 years ago.A skeptic would say, 'Come on, it's just a football game.'Yeah, and a Porsche is just a car.