Tom Osborne, who coached Nebraska's 1997 team, with "Miracle at Missouri" receiver Matt Davison, in 2008. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik).
Nebraska's 1997 team that won a share of the national championship has been the toast of Lincoln this weekend as it celebrates its 20-year reunion.
Players and coaches from that team would have had no need to get together Saturday if it hadn't been for a single play by Matt Davison on Nov. 8, 1997, at Missouri.
Then a little-known freshman receiver, Davison swooped in to catch a ball deflected off the foot of a teammate in the end zone for the tying touchdown as time expired in regulation. The Cornhuskers won 45-38 in overtime to keep their record perfect, and they finished a 13-0 season to finish No. 1 in the coaches' poll in Tom Osborne's last year as coach. Michigan was No. 1 in the AP poll.
Davison, who lives in Lincoln and is a radio commentator for the Husker Sports Network, to this day gets congratulated for his "Miracle at Missouri" catch.
"I get the old 'Nice catch, Matt' frequently, 20 years later," Davison said. "It's amazing how one moment has in a lot of ways defined the path of my life. It's still crazy to me how that whole thing happened and why it happened. I think it happened for a reason. I don't know exactly what the reason is."
Davison was running a slant when Scott Frost, now head coach at UCF, threw toward Shevin Wiggins. Wiggins didn't make the catch, but as he fell the ball bounced off his foot. Davison was there to snag it before it came down.
"I tell Scott Frost all the time that if it wasn't for me, he wouldn't be where he is today," Davison said, laughing. "Scott and I were in each other's wedding, so I can say anything I want about him. I told him if he had thrown the ball to me to begin with, I wouldn't have had to save the day on the other side of the field."