Missouri Head Coach Pinkel Wants Gabbert Hit Reviewed By Big 12

Shane PattonCorrespondent INovember 1, 2010

LINCOLN, NE - OCTOBER 30: Coach Gary Pinkel of the Missouri Tigers (with headset) stands with his staff during second half action of their game at Memorial Stadium on October 30, 2010 in Lincoln, Nebraska. Nebraska Defeated Missouri 31-17. (Photo by Eric Francis/Getty Images)
Eric Francis/Getty Images

Missouri Tigers (7-1) head coach Gary Pinkel has asked the Big 12 to review Nebraska’s fourth quarter hit on Mizzou quarterback Blaine Gabbert.

Pinkel wants to know whether the hit was an illegal helmet-to-helmet shot.

"We'll see what happens," said Pinkel, adding that either way, "I don't know if there was malice involved there."

There didn’t appear to be from where I viewed the game. Gabbert appeared to flinch at the last minute, causing his head to lower slightly right before impact.

Gabbert appeared to be dazed by the hit and even attempted to call a timeout the Tigers did not have later in the game.

Pinkel went on to say that Gabbert was currently doing well and looked good in practice Sunday evening (nice to read the Tigers are back at practice).

"They got after him pretty good, but he's in really good shape."

Later in the Big 12 media teleconference, Nebraska coach Bo Pelini said he thought it was a good hit and that he believed that Gabbert "ducked a little bit at the last second."

Whether intent or result matters most remains to be determined by the Big 12.

"The Big 12's going to do what they have to do," Pelini said. "I can't control that."

Either way, given scrutiny of such hits in the NFL recently, Pinkel added, "It's a hot topic, and it should be."

Nebraska already had one player suspended for a flagrant hit that occurred during the Oklahoma State game. Linebacker and special team’s player Eric Martin did not play against Missouri due to the suspension.

With the way Nebraska was able to penetrate Missouri’s offensive line, I'm not surprised that there was some major contact between offensive and defensive players throughout Saturday’s game.

I realize that there is a heightened awareness with helmet-to-helmet contact these days. If I thought any Nebraska player had used his helmet as a weapon against the Tigers, I would lead the charge for justice, but I didn’t see it that way watching the game live.

Gabbert’s helmet was hit, but it appeared instantaneous and not intentional, at least to the naked eye. I was hoping for a penalty in the game, but it never crossed my mind that it was a dirty hit: I was simply looking for an advantage for Gabbert and his beleaguered offense.

Anyway, the Tigers have bigger things to worry about. Their highly touted defense allowed Nebraska running back Roy Helu Jr. to rush for a school-record 307 yards and three touchdowns (the best performance by a running back in college football this season).

Helu received the Big 12 Offensive Player of the Week award for his effort against Missouri.

I suspect that the Tigers were more concerned with NU quarterback Taylor Martinez than Roy Helu, but it was a lousy effort nonetheless.

I’m hoping this is the Tigers “let-down” game for the season and they will regroup and win the rest of the games on their schedule.

I originally thought that Iowa State may trip Missouri up, but now that they have lost to the Cornhuskers, the Tigers will need to regain their focus and remember what got them to 7-0 in the first place.

No matter what conclusion the Big 12 comes to concerning the hit on Gabbert, the Tigers will try to put their loss to the Cornhuskers behind them and focus on this Saturday’s matchup with Texas Tech (4-4).

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