COLUMBIA, Mo. — One offense showed up. The other? Still waiting.
If Saturday night serves as a proper indication, Nebraska won't be defending its Big 12 North title eight weeks from now in San Antonio. Missouri is a better team — and from the looks of it, so is most of the North Division.
No. 17-ranked MU hammered the 25th-ranked Huskers 41-6 before a boisterous crowd of 70,049, the largest gathering at Faurot Field in 24 years.
Missouri quarterback Chase Daniel carved up NU (4-2, 1-1 Big 12) for 401 yards on 33-of-47 passing. The Tigers (5-0, 1-0) amassed 606 yards against the overmatched Blackshirts, who are making a strong argument to be known as the least effective NU defense since Bob Devaney arrived in 1962.
"It's very frustrating," linebacker Bo Ruud said. "You never want to give up that many points."
Not since 1943, in fact, have three NU foes exceeded 40 points in a single season. It's happened now three times in the Huskers' past four games.
A Missouri outburst wasn't a major surprise. This game, hyped since July as a showdown of the North elite, matched two of the nation's most explosive offensive units.
The Mizzou defense, meanwhile, ranked 93rd nationally. The Tigers didn't play like it, holding Nebraska to 297 yards and without a touchdown for the first time since Oklahoma beat coach Bill Callahan's first NU team 30-3 three years ago.
That same season, the Huskers lost 70-10 to Texas Tech, Callahan's only NU loss by a larger margin than Saturday night's.
In the end, Mizzou was left only to rub its dominance in Nebraska's collective face.
Want evidence? See the Tigers' fourth-quarter fake field goal. His team up by 28 points, Martin Rucker scored on a 10-yard shovel pass yards from Tommy Saunders.
Missouri fans didn't even rush the field, a dramatic reversal from MU wins here over Nebraska in 2003 and 2005.
Callahan, now 3-8 against ranked teams at Nebraska, offered few answers.
"I've got confidence in our team that we can play better," Callahan said. "There were a lot of times when our players were in the right position.
"(Missouri) made the plays."
Yes, it did, and Daniel led the way. The sophomore from Southlake, Texas, rushed for 72 yards to gain 473 in total offense.
Daniel spread seven completions on eight attempts to four receivers as the Tigers came out firing on their 80-yard opening drive. Dynamic freshman Jeremy Maclin went high for a 15-yard catch on third and 1. Rucker, the senior tight end, hauled in a 17-yarder to the Nebraska 2, and Daniel scored on his own from the 1.
NU was then flagged for a false start before its first offensive snap. It went three-and-out, not even trying to run, and handed the ball back to Mizzou.
Just like that, the tone was set.
Daniel didn't give the Blackshirts a shot to catch their breath. Following an NU punt, he converted two more third downs on a 79-yard march that put the Tigers up 14-0 less than 12 minutes into the game.
When NU got the ball back, Maurice Purify took a cross-field lateral and raced more than 40 yards to the Missouri 6 — only to have it called back on a Dan Erickson holding penalty.
Two Sam Keller completions to Nate Swift moved Nebraska to the MU 9-yard line, where it stalled and settled for a 26-yard field goal by Alex Henery.
The red-zone scenario later repeated itself.
After NU managed to hold Mizzou to three points on the Tigers' next two possessions, Keller moved the Huskers 66 yards to the 10.
But just when a flicker of hope emerged with Nebraska seemingly in position to make it a seven-point game at the half, linebacker Van Alexander sacked the Nebraska QB for a 7-yard loss on first down.
A delay-of-game penalty made it second and goal from the 22. Keller threw two incompletions, and the Huskers settled for a 39-yard Henery field goal.
"I can't really put my finger on it," Keller said. "It has to come down to focus. It really does."
Mizzou matched with a 33-yarder from Jeff Wolfert in the final seconds before halftime.
The second half quickly turned worse for Nebraska.
The Missouri pass rush collapsed around Keller. NU took the opening kick of the third quarter and lost 11 yards in three plays. The senior quarterback began to miss receivers. He finished 25 of 43 for 223 yards.
Missouri safety Cornelius "Pig" Brown, who said he wanted a three-touchdown victory, intercepted Keller on a deep throw intended for Frantz Hardy.
Daniel quickly converted the Huskers' only turnover into another TD, hitting Danario Alexander on a 48-yard strike to make it 34-6.
By the time the Tigers stuffed Nebraska I-back Cody Glenn on fourth and 1 late in the third quarter, the celebration had begun.
"We got blown out," Keller said, "and it hurts."
|Yards per carry||5.4||3.0|
Nebraska is 65-36 all-time against Missouri.
|Wake Forest||Sept. 8|
|Ball State||Sept. 22|
|Iowa State||Sept. 29|
|Oklahoma State||Oct. 13|
|Texas A&M||Oct. 20|
|Kansas State||Nov. 10|
Nebraska has played 18 games on Oct. 6. See them all »
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