Nebraska-Missouri: Huskers Wash Out Tigers' Lead

Peter RCorrespondent IOctober 9, 2009

COLUMBIA, MO - OCTOBER 08:  Running back Roy Helu, Jr. #10 of the Nebraska Cornhuskers carries the ball during the game against the Missouri Tigers on October 8, 2009 at Faurot Field/Memorial Stadium in Columbia, Missouri.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

After three quarters of play, Missouri fans and faithful felt confident in a victory.


In all, five inches of rain fell on the rivalry game. Despite the inclement weather, both teams managed to put up nearly 300 yards combined of passing offense.


The Tigers started their scoring with a special teams miscue. Nebraska punter Alex Henery struggled to handle a high snap in his end zone. Five Missouri defenders joined him in the end zone. Henery threw the ball past the end line for a safety rather than risk giving up six.


Blaine Gabbert added six with what was called a touchdown as time expired in the first half. In the third quarter Missouri added three more on a 19-yard drive following a turnover on Nebraska's first snap of the half.


Prior to Nebraska's first scoring drive the Huskers had 97 total yards. Early in the fourth quarter the Huskers' Zac Lee hit Niles Paul for his first long pass reception of the game. This set up the Huskers' first touchdown; they now trailed 12-7 with 13:56 to play.


The drive opened up the Tigers defense. Missouri had jammed the line up to that point. A combination of Husker confidence and a more honest Tiger defense opened up the running game.


The Big 12's leading rusher Roy Helu took advantage of the running room. Helu ended up with only 88 net rushing yards. Almost all of them came in four touchdown drives in the fourth quarter. Helu earned over half of the combined 165 total yards in those drives.


Gabbert was supposed to be the story for Missouri. In a way he was. He became well acquainted with Nebraska's Ndamukong Suh. Suh spent about as much time in the Tiger backfield as Gabbert did.


Gabbert had not given up a single interception yet this year. After several dropped pick opportunities, Suh finally came down with one when he dropped into coverage. Dejon Gomez added one more pick to completely spoil Gabbert's evening.


Twenty-six pro scouts were supposedly at the game to watch Suh play. Suh is projected as a high first round draft pick. He certainly showed why. He and fellow tackle Jared Crick finished with 13 tackles. Five of Ndamukong's six were solo tackles. Suh also forced a Gabbert fumble, which was recovered by Jared Crick.


The Huskers now have the advantage for the Big 12 North spot in the Championship game at Cowboys Stadium.