Big 12: Jr.

Halftime analysis: Huskers 24, Tigers 7

October, 30, 2010
LINCOLN, Neb. -- The first quarter belonged solely to Nebraska. The second to Missouri, but the Huskers big plays on offense have them ahead by 17 at the half.

The Huskers threatened to blow Missouri out of the building in the first quarter, but the Tigers defense stabilized and Missouri's offense was able to find some room against a Nebraska defense that's been dominant -- especially in the secondary -- for most of the game.

Turning point: Nebraska's first play from scrimmage. Running back Roy Helu Jr. broke a 66-yard touchdown run and the Huskers rode a wave of momentum on both sides of the ball to race to a 24-0 lead after the first quarter.

Stat of the half: Neither team has taken a snap in the other's red zone, where the Tigers' defense has excelled this season, allowing points on just 11 of 21 trips by opponents.

Stat of the half II: Blaine Gabbert has completed 10 of 26 passes with an interception. The Huskers' secondary is blanketing Missouri's receivers, giving Gabbert tiny windows to fit balls through to his receivers. Meanwhile, the Blackshirts are getting good pressure up front and making him uncomfortable, something Oklahoma couldn't do last week.

Best player in the half: Helu. He had a 73-yard touchdown run on his third carry of the game, and has 159 yards on his six carries.

Best call: Facing a fourth-and-short in Nebraska territory, Missouri called a sweep to the left side, and running back De'Vion Moore scored Missouri's only points of the half on a 33-yard run.

What Nebraska needs to do: Not get complacent. The offense was stagnant in the second quarter as the defense played well, just not as good as it did in the first quarter. Twenty-four points might be enough to win the game, but a few more could provide some fourth-quarter comfort.

What Missouri needs to do: Prevent the big plays and keep locking up Taylor Martinez. The easiest route to a comeback is to win the field-position game, force punts and capitalize on any opportunities provided. The Tigers already whiffed on one, when receiver Rolandis Woodland dropped a would-be touchdown pass in the end zone from Gabbert.

Kansas' practices affected by brisk spring storm

March, 27, 2009

Posted by's Tim Griffin

LAWRENCE, Kan. -- A blizzard that's supposed to dump up to 8 inches of snow in eastern Kansas hasn't hit -- yet.

But Kansas coach Mark Mangino is taking no chances as he's already canceled the team's scheduled practice for Saturday.

This is the first time that Mangino has ever postponed spring practice because of snow.

"I've moved inside a lot because of cold weather," Mangino said. "But we've been in contact with the Kansas City television stations and the weather service. They've told us this is the real deal."

The snow hasn't started yet, but it did force the Jayhawks inside for a practice that was supposed to be open to the general public. Several reporters did watch the proceedings. Here are some of my observations.

  • Mangino has said that he wants to play Kerry Meier full time at wide receiver, but still can't wean him from a few snaps at quarterback at each practice. Meier's move to receiver will depend on the development of redshirt freshman quarterback Kale Pick, who got a few snaps at Friday's practice. Mangino hopes to get Pick more work as the spring progresses.
  • The Jayhawks' defense should get a shot of enthusiasm from veteran linebackers coach/co-defensive coordinator Bill Miller, who made him presence known during some tackling drills that were a little too sloppy for his tastes.
  • One standout in the practice appears to be converted running back Angus Quigley, who showed promise with his raw athleticism.
  • Mangino has been intrigued by the quick start of redshirt freshman offensive tackle Tanner Hawkinson, who has been inserted at left tackle with Jeremiah Hatch moving to his natural position of center.
  • Starting quarterback Todd Reesing and Meier looked like they were in midseason form after connecting on several strikes.
  • I officially feel like an old man. Among the players getting work were freshman running back Deshaun Sands. I remember watching his father, Tony Sands, when he was breaking records for the Jayhawks not too many years ago.
  • Mangino singled out massive 338-pound freshman offensive lineman John Williams for his strong early play. "He's a powerful guy who is really quick," Mangino said. "He'll be a starter if he keeps up at this pace."
  • Roderick Harris Jr., a junior wide receiver, appeared to sprain his left ankle midway through practice. He hobbled to the sidelines and did not return.
  • As leading receiver Dezmon Briscoe's suspension continues, Johnathan Wilson had a strong practice. Wilson made several circus catches which prompted the biggest reaction of the day by his teammates.

If the blizzard lets me, I'll be off to Nebraska very early tomorrow morning to catch the Cornhuskers' workout. More reports will be coming then and maybe even my first Runza sandwich of my North Division swing.