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MU-Nebraska notebook MU-Nebraska notebook


Date: 09/26/99 00:11

  • Best: Justin "Godzilla" Smith lived up to his nickname in a first half in which not much went right for Missouri. Smith, a sophomore defensive end, had nine tackles, including three for 12 yards in losses, and recovered the fumble that led to Missouri's only points of the first half. The biggest hit? That was Smith's 8-yard sack of Nebraska quarterback Eric Crouch in the second quarter.

    But Smith admitted he lost a lot of his starch as Nebraska increased its lead.

    "It wears on you," Smith said. "You try not to let it wear on you, but we're human. It wears on you."

  • Worst: Ben Davidson's first two punt snaps sailed over would-be MU punter Jared Gilpin. The first one -- which a 7-footer couldn't have caught -- came with MU facing fourth and 19 at its 35. It fell in the end zone. Gilpin kicked it out of there for a Nebraska safety.

    The second errant Davidson snap, on fourth and 8 from the MU 35, wasn't much better. Gilpin got a hand on it with a high jump and even managed to chase it down and throw an incomplete pass with 7:54 left in the first period. Four plays later, Nebraska's Matt Davison caught a 7-yard TD pass that put Nebraska up 9-0.

    "I did my warm-up snaps on the sideline, just like always. They were perfect," Davidson said. "I got caught up in emotion, trying to throw it too hard, I guess. Especially Nebraska, you're going to be fired up. I've just got to try to keep that under control."

    ANOTHER DEATH IN MU FAMILY

    For the second straight week, cancer struck close to the Missouri football team. Brandon Ford, a sophomore tight end from Galveston, Texas, lost his mother, Debra, to the disease Wednesday night. During his three-day return home the previous week, Debra Ford told her son that he should return to Columbia and that she wanted him to continue to play. Funeral arrangements were not released on Saturday.

    A week ago Saturday, Carlalee Ankney, the wife of MU defensive coordinator Moe Ankney, died of cancer.

    GAME PLAYED ON THE FIELD

    One of the most overworked angles to the Missouri-Nebraska game was how much of a distraction the Nebraska's offensive position changes and DeAngelo Evans leaving the team would be. And how it might affect anything and everything.

    "We let the fans and a lot of the media, we let them be concerned about the off-the-field stuff," said Missouri defensive lineman Steve Erickson.

    "We all have our own problems. They're playing strong. Their sixth in the country. They've given up 20 points in three games. I don't see any excuses."

    A KISS FOR A KISS

    Erickson was more amused than incensed by Davison's intent to kiss the grass in the end zone where Davison caught the kicked pass that forced the 1997 MU-Nebraska game into overtime.

    "Maybe I should go back to Nebraska next year and kiss the end zone I got into," Erickson said with a big grin.

    Erickson picked up a Nebraska fumble last year in Lincoln and returned it 41 yards for the only touchdown of the Missouri defensive lineman's career.

    Nobody saw Davison kiss anything before Saturday's game. But his TD reception in the first quarter gave him two scoring passes in his three years at Nebraska. Both against Missouri. Both in the north end zone.

    IOWA TV CREW BOOTED

    Two members of a Cedar Rapids, Iowa, television crew were stripped of their credentials to cover the game and booted out of Memorial Stadium just before kickoff. The two-man crew, duly credentialed, showed up on the sideline without any TV or reporting equipment. When challenged, they said they were in attendance to scout the game for Iowa State. If true, that would be an NCAA violation, but there was no indication that the scouting story was anything more than fabrication.

    NO HOOPS RECRUITS

    Basketball recruiting will pick up again later this week. But there weren't any recruits in Columbia on Saturday because the entire MU men's basketball staff was in Phoenix attending coach Quin Snyder's marriage ceremony. Missouri has two remaining scholarships to give.

    WORTH NOTING

    This was the 18th straight season that Nebraska entered the Missouri game ranked in the nation's top 10, and the 32nd straight season in which the Cornhuskers were ranked.

  • Saturday's game marked the earliest meeting ever between Missouri and Nebraska.

  • John Garrison (Blue Springs), Spencer Owen (Carrollton), Steve Warren (Springfield), Tracey Wistrom (Webb City) and Dan Alexander (Wentzville) are all Missouri Cornhuskers on the Nebraska roster. Barry Mazuch was the lone Nebraska Tiger on the MU roster.

    NEXT UP

    Missouri hits the road for the first time next Saturday, playing at Memphis (which pushed Tennessee before falling on Saturday) in a 2:30 p.m. kickoff that will wrap up the Tigers' non-conference schedule. Nebraska heads home for an 11:30 a.m. game against Oklahoma State.

    -- Mike DeArmond/The Star

  • All content 2000 The Kansas City Star