Primetime College Football: Huskers vs Tigers
Nebraska has had little trouble shutting down opponents, while Missouri has been scoring with ease. With both squads coming off a bye, the Cornhuskers and Tigers open their conference schedules at Faurot Field where those trends seem unlikely to continue.
Bo Pelini’s Huskers (3-1) have faced few challenges during non-conference play, defeating Sun Belt Conference foes Florida Atlantic, Arkansas State and Lafayette by a combined 142-12. Nebraska’s loss came at Virginia Tech, when the Hokies scored with 21 seconds left for a 16-15 win.
The Huskers bounced back from that stunning loss with the lopsided victory over the Ragin’ Cajuns, allowing a season-low 222 yards in their first shutout since 2006. The offense had another solid performance with Zac Lee passing for 238 yards and a TD, while running back Roy Helu scored twice.
Nebraska is 19th in the country with 440.0 yards per game and ninth with 39.3 points a contest, but the defense lead by Ndamukong Suh has been even better. The Huskers are first in scoring defense (7.0) and their 28 points allowed are their fewest yielded through four games since 1990. In Pelini’s first year as Huskers’ coach last season, the defense allowed an average of 28.5 points.
Nebraska opened conference play with a 52-17 loss to then-No. 4 Missouri last Oct. 4 in its most lopsided defeat at Memorial Stadium since 1955. The teams went on to tie for first in the Big 12 North.
Missouri (4-0) is led by Blaine Gabbert who passed for 414 yards and 3 TDs in a 31-21 win at Nevada. He has thrown for 1,161 yards and 11 TDs with no interceptions this season. The sophomore directs an offense that ranks 15th in points per game (36.8) and 16th in yards per contest (453.0), although he has yet to face a defense that is nearly as talented as Nebraska’s.
The combined record of Gary Pinkel’s Tigers four opponents is 6-12, with Furman accounting for three of those victories.
The Tigers should have an advantage playing at Faurot Field. Missouri has won 23 of 27 home games and taken three straight over Nebraska at Faurot. Nebraska has lost seven in a row and 14 of 15 road games against ranked opponents.
PICK: University of Nebraska Cornhuskers