Today’s Big Red Report is like standing around the water cooler to rehash this big win by the Huskers, 31-17 over Missouri and the big day by Roy Helu. First, let’s start with him. 307 yards, the best single game performance ever at Nebraska breaking Calvin Jones record of 294 yards back in 1991 in a game against K-State. In that game Jones ran for six touchdowns. On Saturday, Helu scored on only three, but those three were for 66, 73, and 53, his first coming on Nebraska’s first play from scrimmage after the defense held Missouri to a three and out.
Missouri is a team that likes to blitz and they like to fill those gaps in the line and that can leave some secondary containment issues if it gets exploited and that’s what the offensive line did, blocking at the point of attack and once Helu broke through the front seven he was gone. A big key to that, something I mentioned last week was the Tigers losing their defensive tackle Dominique Hamilton who is 6’5 305 pounds. They were replacing him with guys who were 15-20 pounds lighter and all three of Helu’s big runs came up the middle.
For his performance, Helu was named with Walter Camp Football Foundation, national offensive player of the week, making it the second week in a row the Huskers have been honored. Taylor Martinez was the winner of the award last week against OSU. As far as Martinez, the Tigers wanted to shut him down and they did, holding him to just 16 yards on 12 carries in the first half. Martinez was out of the second half with what Bo Pelini is calling a bone bruise. Martinez could barely walk at the end of the first half. It will be interesting to see how Martinez responds, because sometimes that just take rest to feel better.
I need to mention the Blackshirts. They held Missouri to four three and outs in the first quarter, limiting the Tigers to 56 yards in the opening quarter. The front four put pressure on quarterback Blaine Gabbert all day, sacking him six times and hitting him seven times and while the front four pressured Gabbert, the secondary did a good job of shutting down Missouri’s top receiver T.J. Moe and Michael Egnew, they combined for 12 of the Tigers 18 completions, but Gabbert was just 18 of 42 for 199 yards. Even more impressive, NU shut down the Tigers run game holding them to 142 net yards and nearly half of that came on one long scramble from Gabbert and their 33 yard touchdown run.
Nebraska controls the Big 12, each team with a loss and NU holding the tie-breaker over Missouri. The Huskers moved up from 14th to 7th in the BCS standings.