Nebraska freshman deep-snapper P.J. Mangieri fired off a handful of bad snaps on punts, including one early in the second quarter that sailed high. Alex Henery leaped to catch the ball in the Husker end zone but, under duress, tossed it out of the end zone for a safety.
Credit Gary Pinkel for having Missouri go for it on fourth-and-goal at the Nebraska 1-yard line in the final seconds of the first half. Quarterback Blaine Gabbert faked a handoff and dived into the end zone, although replays showed his knee might’ve been down before the ball crossed the goal line. Whatever. The Tigers earned their 9-0 halftime lead.
Big man, big night
Nebraska all-world defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh snatched an interception that led to a touchdown early in the fourth quarter, which gave the Huskers a 13-12 lead.
Brian Christopherson’s take
Down memory lane: Couldn’t help but think about the 1990 Husker game against Colorado. Another game played in miserable weather. The Huskers led 12-0 going into the fourth quarter. They lost 27-12. This one feels better, doesn’t it?
Mr. smart aleck says: Anyone know if Santino Panico is available to field a punt?
Why not?: Why not Ndamukong Suh in the Heisman conversation? No one else is taking control in the race. I’ve yet to see a better college football player this year.
Game in a tweet: Soaked, satisfied, Suuuuuuuuuuuh.
Reader questions from the Life In The Red blog
1. The officials reviewed Missouri’s touchdown at the end of the first half. Was that to determine whether Blaine Gabbert got into the end zone?
Yes and no. Actually, what was being reviewed was whether Gabbert lost the football before he crossed the goal line. It was fourth down, and had he fumbled before getting in, he would have been the only Tiger who could have recovered the ball.
The official ruling was that Gabbert scored before fumbling. However, one television replay angle made it appear as if one of his knees hit the turf before the ball crossed the goal line.
2. (from TheOneAndOnly) Why did (offensive coordinator) Shawn Watson pass on third-and-long with a minute left in the first half?
Some people will tell you the Huskers had already made themselves one-dimensional by that point in the game. NU ran just six rushing plays in the second quarter.
It’s a good question, though. A running play forces Missouri to at least use one of its three timeouts, and at the end of the half the Tigers needed all three to get in the end zone. Had they had just two, the play calling might be different … and it definitely is on the fourth-down draw play that Gabbert scored on.
3. Zac Lee has played two road games and after being shaky against Virginia Tech he came out looking no different Thursday. Is that an issue or just coincidence?
If we’re judging Lee on his first three quarters, you might think it was more than coincidence. Lee had plenty of chances in the game’s first 45 minutes, and also plenty of drops. Throw in the rainy conditions and you’ve got a bad combination for offensive football.
Let’s also credit Missouri’s secondary for bringing its ‘A’ game during that time. One would never have been able to tell that the Tigers have three first-year starters at the back of their defense. Special props to free safety Jasper Simmons and cornerback Carl Gettis for their draping coverage before the fourth quarter
As to the question, here’s another: Would you have liked to have seen true freshman Cody Green thrown into the fire after a couple of second-half series just to see if the kid could provide a change-up? The coaches were definitely thinking about it, as Green was warming up on the sidelines during Missouri’s last scoring series.
And here’s another question: Wonder if that had anything to do with Lee finding lightning in a bottle as he got the Huskers into the end zone on their next three series?