They kept watching game film, and nearly every time, it showed Missouri’s opponents sitting back and giving the Tigers time to do what they do so well.

Nebraska might lose, but the defensive staff wasn’t going to go down that way.

“We tried to mess with their reads, change fronts and give them a lot of different looks,” defensive coordinator Carl Pelini said. “We just didn’t execute it. Maybe we’ll go back on film and say it wasn’t a good game plan.”

Nebraska used a handful of players in a three-man front along the defensive line, and routinely shifted players.

Cornerback Anthony West says Nebraska had a good week of practice. Then the game started, and the Huskers struggled to communicate against Missouri’s spread attack.

“You can’t come out and not execute against a good team,” West said.

Ganz on the move by design

Nebraska quarterback Joe Ganz competed a number of passes outside of the pocket. He  did a job making plays, offensive coordinator Shawn Watson said, and that was by design.

“We wanted him to get outside and break containment,” Watson said. “It was a blocking pattern, and Joe did a nice job.”

Swift playing good football

Nebraska coach Bo Pelini has often praised the play of  wide receiver Nate Swift this season.

Swift scored the Huskers’ first touchdown on a 20-yard reception in the first quarter. Ganz scrambled and found Swift crossing the end zone. Swift went to his knees to make the catch.

The 15th touchdown reception of his career tied him for third on the career list. Swift entered the game averaging 17.3 yards per catch.

Rams come to Lincoln

So what do St. Louis Rams players do during their bye week? Watch more football, of course.

There are three Nebraska products on the roster, and two of them made the trip to Lincoln to watch the Huskers.

Defensive tackle Adam Carriker and kicker Josh Brown lent NU  morale support, while offensive guard Richie Incognito watched on TV from his home.

Whatever they’re doing, new Rams coach Jim Haslett said players need a break after their tumultuous 0-4 start. He had a ready answer Wednesday, the day before the Rams dispersed, when a TV reporter wanted to know why they didn’t use the extra time to practice more.

“I don’t think work is a problem,’’ Haslett said. “These guys do a nice job, they work hard. With everything that has happened, they probably need some days off.’’ 

Briefly

* Nebraska had an officials’  ruling reversed to start the third quarter. Officials had ruled that Nebraska’s Niles Paul had fumbled on the kickoff return, with Missouri recovering the ball. After a long review, the ruling was reversed.

* The Nebraska student section was half-full when the fourth quarter began just before 11 p.m.

* Missouri freshman QB Blaine Gabbert entered the game  late in the fourth quarter. Gabbert had originally committed to Nebraska.

* Nebraska failed to score at least 30 points for the first time in its past eight games dating to last season. It was the longest streak of 30-point-plus games since the Huskers hit that mark 13 straight games including the entire 1995 season and the first game of the 1996 season.

* Nebraska is 27-5 in night games at Memorial Stadium, but has lost its last two.

* Missouri coach Gary Pinkel has a 4-4 record vs. Nebraska. Pinkel is third all-time in wins at Missouri with 54 victories. Warren Powers, the last coach to lead Missouri to a win in Lincoln (in 1978), is fourth on the list with 46 wins.

* For the fifth straight game, Missouri scored on its first possession of the game. Saturday, they needed just 59 seconds to go 63 yards in three plays. The Tigers scored on a 58-yard pass from Chase Daniel to Jeremy Maclin.  Meanwhile, Nebraska became the first Missouri foe this season to score on its first possession.

* With his second-quarter 48-yard field goal, Missouri’s Jeff Wolfert improved to 27-for-27 on field goals in Big 12 action the last two seasons. He missed a 59-yarder on the final play of the first half. 

Reach Brent C. Wagner at 473-7435 or bwagner@journalstar.com.