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Nebraska's Black Shirts make four big OT plays count

BY KEN HAMBLETON 
Lincoln Journal Star 

COLUMBIA, Mo. - Jason Peter screamed to be heard above the crowd noise - maybe it was for emphasis.  

"Four plays. All summer. All our work. All our dreams. Come on we can do it for four plays," he pleaded with teammates on the sideline after Nebraska went ahead 45-38 in overtime.  

Missouri had first down from the 25-yard line to get a first down, and to try and score in the overtime.  

The Tigers chewed up Nebraska's defense like no team had done since the 1991 season.  

Missouri quarterback Corby Jones found gaps in the pass defense for 223 yards and three touchdowns of passing. He eluded a number of sacks and broke dozens of tackles all afternoon.  

"Mike Rucker was screaming for us to come together for one series, and play like we hadn't played all day," said Nebraska cornerback Ralph Brown. "Jason Peter was telling people we had worked so hard for just this moment.  

"We weren't going to leave anything on the field."  

Jones was hurried and overthrew Ron Janes on the left sideline. Then Jones ran to his right and Nebraska rush end Chad Kelsay jumped over a blocker and tripped him up for a three-yard gain.  

Jones tried to throw to tight end Jake Stueve on the right sidelines. The ball came off Stueve's fingertips.  

Fourth down and seven for the first down and 22 for the touchdown.  

"George Darlington called down a sub-blitz from the press box," NU defensive coordinator CharlieMcBride said of Darlington, the secondary coach. "We weren't concerned with the run, just get the sack or get enough pressure for a bad pass."  

Jones was in the shotgun formation about seven yards behind center. He took the snap, looked to his right, his left and was swarmed under by Nebraska rush ends Grant Wistrom and Mike Rucker.  

"I was under a pile in the middle and had a mouth full of dirt," said Peter. "I could hear the crowd and I saw Rucker running away with the ball.  

"This was as big as any, not as big as the national championship games, but this ranks right up there.  

"How fitting to have the two Missouri guys (Wistrom from Webb City, Mo., and Rucker from St. Joseph, Mo.) that is so great."  

Nebraska's defense seemed dazed and confused throughout the game as Jones gave Missouri the lead to open the game, the lead at halftime and the lead at the end of the third quarter.  

He was unfazed as he hit tight end Eddie Brooks on a 15-yard touchdown pass to put Missouri ahead 38-31 with 4:39 left in the fourth quarter. 

"We were fortunate," said Rucker, who had four tackles for losses and three quarterback sacks. "The last play, the boys from Missouri got there. I don't know how.  

"I came on the outside and Grant came on the inside and the middle guys caved in the middle," he said. "It's like we got a new life. Like we were reborn in overtime.  

"Corby Jones had been scrambling loose all day and he wasn't going to get loose that time."   

Wistrom, who had three sacks and five tackles, said he took off for Jones at the snap of the ball.  

"I don't know who was in front of me and I just kept my eyes on Jones and came in on a bullrush straight ahead," he said. "Missouri had a great game plan and stuck it to us all day.  

"In overtime, we just couldn't let it happen anymore. I got there, and Mike Rucker got there, and the next thing I knew I was helping Corby off the ground and Mike was running around the field with the game ball." 

Nebraska rush ends Coach Nelson Barnes said the final play of the game was special.  

"We had a rush, we had coverage and we had two rush ends go in there and just finish it off," he said. "Everybody was happy to see Mike and Grant end this."  

Nobody was happier than Grant's father Ron Wistrom, and Rucker's father Martin, who shook hands after the game.  

"This is great," said Martin Rucker. "A great game and a great ending. It's nice to see it and to be a part of it all." 

Ron Wistrom leaned over to whisper to Martin Rucker. "Not too bad, I'd say," he said.  
 

 

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