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Posted on Thu, Oct. 08, 2009 11:46 PM
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MU-Nebraska game report

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FIRST QUARTER
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.

SECOND QUARTER
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.

THIRD QUARTER
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.

FOURTH QUARTER
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.


 REPORT CARD


D+OffenseThis 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+DefenseShutting 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 teamsJake 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.
DCoachingIt 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, mdearmond@kcstar.com

Posted on Thu, Oct. 08, 2009 11:46 PM
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