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Last years
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Husker defense stays strong
By BOB SCHALLER
For the Star-Herald
COLUMBIA, Mo. — For the fourth time this year, the Blackshirts closed the door on rushing, allowing 70 or fewer yards.
Missouri had just 67 yards rushing Saturday in a 36-3 loss.
Factor in that Missouri only had 205 yards of total offense — compared to Nebraska’s 532 — and throw in this tidbit: The Huskers allowed Missouri only three points.
“As the game went on, our defense got better and better,” said Nebraska coach Frank Solich.
Indeed, the Tigers’ only points came on a first-quarter field goal. From there, it was lights out.
“Our guys responded very well,” said defensive coordinator Craig Bohl.
NU responded to the tune of harassing quarterback Kirk Farmer all over the field. Except for an early bootleg and a few first-half passes, Farmer was either on his heals — or on his back for a 12-yard sack.
“By the middle of the second quarter, we had the game under control,” Bohl said.
More impressive was that the Huskers shut down Missouri in the second half when the Tigers were throwing the ball trying to play catch-up. That can often lend itself to misleading passing numbers. But not on this Saturday.
“We were pleased with how we finished the game off,” Bohl said. “We were playing as well at the end of the game as we were at the beginning.”
The Huskers were shredded by Missouri last year for almost 500 yards. Tape of that game gave Bohl nightmares.
“We made sure as a coaching staff that our guys were on edge,” Bohl said. “It was motivation.”
The Blackshirts knew that last year’s Missouri game was not among their finest moments.
“We didn’t want anything like that to happen again,” said cornerback Keyuo Craver.
The Huskers executed a sound game plan that featured three cornerbacks on the field most of the time. Craver worked with DeJuan Groce, and cornerbacks Pat Ricketts, Erwin Swiney and Lornell McPherson saw a lot of action.
“Craver and Groce especially are playing outstanding,” Bohl said. “We’re getting good defense from the corners.”
Whatever it was, it worked. The Huskers were caught off guard early, but quickly adjusted.
“We weren’t expecting Farmer to start, or play that much,” Bohl said. “They did a lot of things we hadn’t seen, like the naked bootleg, to get us off balance. But we recovered.”