Missouri Rolls Over Nebraska In Big 12 Opener Print
Written by mark   
Saturday, 04 October 2008 20:36
NCAAF Headline News

Impressive Opener

Missouri unleashed 30 years of pent-up frustration on Nebraska. The 52-17 final score said as much.

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Chase Daniel threw three touchdown passes, Derrick Washington ran for 139 yards and scored three times and the fourth-ranked Tigers beat the overmatched Cornhuskers on Saturday night for their first win in Lincoln since 1978.

``That wasn't just about the 2008 football team,'' Missouri coach Gary Pinkel said. ``It's about 30 years of fans from around the world and a lot of former Missouri players. It's pretty good to get a win at one of the toughest places to play in the country.''

The 35-point defeat was the Huskers' most lopsided home loss in 53 years and fifth-worst in Lincoln in the program's 119-year history.

The Tigers scored on eight of their 10 possessions. They missed a field goal on another, and their second-string offense turned over the ball on downs late in the fourth quarter.

``I'm not used to losing. I'm not used to getting beat soundly. It's my fault,'' said first-year Nebraska coach Bo Pelini. ``Damn right, yes, I'm embarrassed. I apologized to the team. I apologize to the state of Nebraska. I apologize to everyone associated with Nebraska football.

``It's my responsibility. I was hired to do a job and I didn't do the job tonight. Anything else need to be said?''

Missouri scored the first four times it had the ball, then went up 31-7 on Brock Christopher's 16-yard interception return late in the second quarter.

Missouri (1-0 Big 12) is unbeaten through five games for the third year in a row. Nebraska (3-2, 0-1) is winless in 10 straight against opponents ranked in the Top 10.

The Tigers ended two long road losing streaks on their march to the Big 12 North title last year - winning at Colorado for the first time since 1997 and at Kansas State for the first time since 1989.

But it was the losing streak in Lincoln that has dogged the Tigers longest.

``I hope we made the nation of Tiger fans proud of us,'' Daniel said. ``Right now it feels good, but down the road I'm sure it will mean more. We're focused on this game so we'll enjoy it.''

The Tigers' previous win here was a 35-31 classic that denied the Huskers, ranked second at the time, a national title shot. Missouri didn't have much to show for its next 15 visits to Nebraska other than a good number of blowout losses.

All that was forgotten late Saturday night.

The 52 points were the most Missouri has ever scored against Nebraska, topping the 35 in 1978. The 35-point margin was Missouri's biggest against Nebraska since a 47-6 win in Columbia in 1947.

The Tigers were as good as, or better than, they were in beating three non-BCS opponents before starting Big 12 play.

Three of their scoring drives lasted less than 2 minutes - giving them 17 such drives for the season. And their No. 1 offense extended its streak of no three-and-out possessions to 49.

``We didn't punt today. That's hard to believe,'' Pinkel said. ``We're going to have to work hard on that in practice, because that's not reality.''

Pelini said earlier in the week that his team's goal was to shut out a Mizzou offense that came in averaging 54 points and 596 yards a game.

That bluster was blown away in a hurry.

Daniel found Jeremy Maclin on a short slant on the third play of the game, and Maclin turned it into a 58-yard touchdown to continue the Tigers' streak of scoring on their first possession in each game this season.

Nebraska came right back, with Joe Ganz rolling out and hitting Nate Swift with a 20-yard touchdown pass.

Then it was game over.

Daniel, who was 18-of-23 for 253 yards, led the Tigers on three impressive scoring drives.

A personal foul and pass interference penalty helped fuel a quick 80-yard drive that Washington finished with a 3-yard run. Jeff Wolfert kicked a 48-yard field goal and Jimmy Jackson scored on a 1-yard run to end a 75-yard march.

Down 24-7 and facing third-and-14 at his own 16, Ganz tried to force a pass to Menelik Holt. But Christopher stepped in front from his linebacker spot and went in for a score.

Ganz finished 26-of-38 for 290 yards and two touchdowns, the last one a meaningless 20-yarder to Holt as time expired.

The Huskers, who hadn't been beaten so bad at home since Oklahoma shut them out 41-0 in 1955, never gave themselves a chance to get back into the game, stalling repeatedly because of penalties or turnovers.

Daniel said he took great satisfaction in the five-touchdown margin of victory. He said a Nebraska player spit on him before the game.

``I'm not going to say who it was. He knows who it is. That's bush league. That's blatant disrespect,'' Daniel said.

Daniel called Nebraska one of the ``dirtiest'' teams he's played.

``You have to settle it out on the field,'' he said, ``and I think we more than did that tonight.''

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