MU-Nebraska game report
Key play: Set up at the Nebraska 32 when Andrew Gachkar recovered a muffed Cornhuskers punt, Derrick Washington looked to have a first down on a strong run up the middle. But Jayson Palmgren was called for holding, and the Tigers’ drive was sent into reverse.
Key stat: 18-plus. Derrick Washington gained only 18 yards in four rushes but lost at least 20 to teammates’ penalties on big runs.
Key play: Alex Henery, punting from his end zone, had to chase down a wild snap and, with Missouri’s Trey Hobson closing in, Henery threw the ball out of the back of the end zone for a safety. Missouri led 2-0 with 14:01 left in the half.
Key stat: 38. The yardage of a Blaine Gabbert to Jared Perry pass to the Nebraska 6 that set up the only touchdown of the first half. It was by far the longest pass completion by either team in the half.
Key play: Derrick Washington — on second and 4 from the Nebraska 7 — burst up the middle to the Nebraska 3 for an apparent first down. But MU’s Kurtis Gregory was called for holding and Missouri had to settle for a field goal.
Key stat: 11-12. Missouri kicker Grant Ressel missed his first field-goal attempt of the season, a 43-yarder with 13:03 left in the quarter. The kick hooked wide left. It was his first miss after 10 straight makes. Ressel later made a 33-yarder.
Key play: Until Zac Lee hit Niles Paul with a 56-yard scoring pass over the top, the Cornhuskers weren’t in the game. After that score, with 13:56 left, they were.
Key stat: On his 164th pass of the season, MU quarterback Blaine Gabbert suffered his first interception — and he threw another pick on his next attempt. The pick — batted up and then caught by Ndamukong Suh — came at the Missouri 18. Two plays later, Lee hit Paul with a 13-yard TD pass in the back right of the end zone for a 13-12 Nebraska lead.
Player of the game: Zac Lee. The Nebraska quarterback was doing nothing and then threw three fourth-quarter TD passes.
Reason to hope: Blaine Gabbert, injured early, played on a sore right ankle most of the game and probably grew as much as in any game so far. It wasn’t enough. But he’ll get better from this.
Reason to mope: Derrick Washington’s teammates owe their tailback an apology. Washington might have run for 100 yards, had not perhaps 30 yards been wiped out by holding penalties.
Looking ahead: The return match — in Stillwater — against an Oklahoma State team that beat Missouri last season in Columbia, has all sorts of story lines, is still eight days away from its 8:15 p.m. kickoff. None of the subplots holds more portent than the prospect of the Cowboys having to play the Tigers without all-star wide receiver Dez Bryant, suspended indefinitely for lying to the NCAA about a visit with former NFL star Deion Sanders.
|D+||Offense||This grade could go to either team’s offensive coordinator. Filling the air with footballs on a rainy night was downright stupefying. Still, late, it worked for Nebraska. Not so much for Missouri.|
|B+||Defense||Shutting out Nebraska in the first half for the first time since 1988 was impressive. What came after that was a case of the Missouri offense setting up the Tigers’ defense to fail.|
|A-||Special teams||Jake Harry IV could be crowned today as King of Columbia. When he rolled a 57-yard rugby punt dead at the Nebraska 11 with 6:19 left in the third quarter, he boosted his net punting average on eight punts to 44.6 yards.|
|D||Coaching||It was as if Dave Christensen was still MU’s offensive coordinator. Missouri passed its way out of the lead and into a hole.|
| Mike DeArmond, firstname.lastname@example.org