LINCOLN, Neb. - On a day when Cory Ross was about all the offense Nebraska could muster, the Cornhuskers came away from their 24-3 victory over Missouri with sole possession of the Big 12 North lead and a renewed sense of confidence.
Ross's 194 yards accounted for all but 41 of the Huskers' total yards Saturday. Missouri outgained them 328-235 and held a 19-8 edge in first downs.
Nebraska (5-3, 3-2 Big 12) turned to its defense and special teams to deny Missouri its first win in Lincoln since 1978. The Tigers (4-4, 2-3) lost their third straight.
"We needed this because we've struggled so much this year," Ross said. "This time we fought and stayed into the game for four quarters. There have been so many negatives around us. We wanted to make something positive happen."
With Nebraska leading 17-3 late in the fourth, Ross iced the game with a career-long 86-yard run after Missouri turned the ball over on downs deep in Huskers territory.
Otherwise, the two offenses struggled to produce points, combining for 20 punts.
Nebraska coach Bill Callahan said he liked the way his team responded after a 24-point loss last week at Kansas State. Two weeks before that, the Huskers had lost 70-10 at Texas Tech.
Those losses were part of Nebraska's worst seven-game record since 1961.
"It's been a tough season, but it builds character and we showed our true colors today," linebacker Chad Sievers said. "We came out there, we balled and we had fun. Everyone is so happy right now, you would think we won the national championship."
Missouri, playing without suspended running back Damien Nash, rushed for only 51 yards.
Tigers quarterback Brad Smith ran 21 times for a season-low 25 yards, but he completed 24 of 56 passes for a season-high 277 yards. He was sacked four times.
"For my part, as a leader, you have to make more plays," Smith said.
The Tigers arrived in Lincoln just three hours before kickoff. Their chartered plane went off the runway in wet conditions Friday at the Columbia, Mo., airport. No one was injured.
Instead of having the travel party wait at the airport while the plane was inspected and the Federal Aviation Administration conducted an investigation, the decision was made to fly to Lincoln on Saturday, Missouri spokesman Chad Moller said.
Moller said the Tigers' flight landed at 8:10 a.m. Kickoff was at 11:10 a.m.
|Time of Possession||31:38||28:22|
|Missouri||0 3 0 0 --o3|
|Nebraska||3 7 7 7 --24|
Neb--FG DeAngelis 41, 11:14.
Mis--FG Tantarelli 39, 14:46.
Neb--Ickes 16 blocked punt return (DeAngelis kick), 9:42.
Neb--Ross 15 run (DeAngelis kick), 1:34.
Neb--Ross 86 run (DeAngelis kick), 2:56.
Rushing--Missouri, Smith 21-25, Woods 7-22, Temple 6-13, Hoenes 1-minus 9. Nebraska, Ross 19-194, Jackson 12-38, Amos 1-7, Green 3-minus 2, Team 4-minus 6.
Passing--Missouri, Smith 24-56-1 277. Nebraska, Dailey 4-18-0 26.
Receiving--Missouri, Omboga 8-96, Coffey 6-66, Sesay 3-32, Ekweekwu 3-14, Woods 2-48, Rucker 1-23, Viehmann 1-minus 2. Nebraska, Nunn 2-10, Keiser 1-10, AHerian 1-6.