Saturday, October 30, 2010
Halftime analysis: Huskers 24, Tigers 7
By David Ubben
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.