The Nebraska Cornhuskers scored 24 points in the first quarter, outgaining the Missouri Tigers 256-48 in the first fifteen minutes of the game and then let their defense take over for a 31-17 win over Mizzou, Saturday afternoon in Lincoln. Nebraska moves to 7-1, 3-1, while the Tigers drop to 7-1, 3-1 with the Huskers now holding the head to head tie-breaker for the Big 12 North.
Roy Helu finished with 303 yards on 26 carries including touchdown runs of 66, 73, and 53. His performance is now the best in Nebraska history for a single game rushing performance. Helu’s game was needed as Taylor Martinez did not play the second half with a right knee injury.
Meanwhile, the Tigers could just never really get things going offensively. The Tigers put together two nice drives in the second half that led to 10 points, but it was too little too late. T.J. Moe caught a 23 yard touchdown pass from Blaine Gabbert and Grant Ressel made a 23 yard field goal after the Tigers were stopped three times on the one yard line.
Nebraska’s secondary didn’t allow Missouri’s receivers to get open and the front four of Nebraska harassed Gabbert all game. He was chased from the pocket, hit multiple times and ran for his life several time, never able to get comfortable as he finished just 18 of 42 for 200 yards. Gabbert scrambled for 73 yards on 22 attempts.
1st quarter highlights.
After a three and out from Missouri, Helu ran 66 yards for touchdown. After another Missouri three and out, NU went seven plays and settled for an Alex Henery 41 yard field goal. With 5:17 to play in the first quarter, Missouri’s secondary fell for the run fake and Taylor Martinez found Kyler Reed wide open for a 40 yard touchdown. Helu tacked on his second touchdown run of the quarter , of 73 yards. NU opened up a 24-0 lead.
2nd quarter highlights.
Missouri’s defense finally held Nebraska’s offense to a three and out. With a fourth and one at the NU 33, the Huskers took a time out after Gabbert got down under center. After the timeout, Gabbert pitched the ball to De’Vion Moore who completely faked out the NU defense as he went in virtually untouched for the score.
After gaining 256 yards in the first quarter, NU’s offense managed five yards as they were held to three straight three and outs. Grant Ressel missed a 54 yard field goal.
On a scramble, Martinez took a shot from Missouri’s Kenji Jackson. At first it appeared to be a thigh bruise, but it was later confirmed to be a knee injury. Martinez hobbled his way through the rest of the half, but was on the bench to start the third quarter. Martinez was contained by the Tigers, gaining just 16 yards on 12 carries, but he was efficient throwing the ball, going 6 for 9 for 115 yards.
3rd quarter highlights.
Blaine Gabbert gained a season high 25 yard run and the Tigers drive ended with a 23 yard touchdown pass to T.J. Moe, who finished with five catches for 71 yards. The Tigers were 0 for 10 on third down conversions, but on their second touchdown drive of the game, Mizzou went 4 for 4. The Tigers were 11th in the Big 12 in 3rd down conversions at 36% and finished the game 7 of 19.
Any momentum the Tigers gained by making the score 24-14 was quickly dashed when two plays later, Helu broke through the Missouri line and sprinted 53 yards for his third touchdown to put the Huskers back up 31-14.
The Tigers then put together a 15 play, 74 yard drive that ended with a Ressel field goal, but Mizzou was stopped three straight times at the one yard line. On fourth and goal from the one, the Tigers got called for a motion penalty backing them up and forcing a field goal instead of going for the touchdown.
4th quarter highlights.
Nebraska continued to haunt Gabbert and Helu broke the Nebraska single game rushing record.