Missouri 13

(3-3, 1-2 away)

Nebraska 24

(5-2, 5-0 home)

12:30 PM ET, October 12, 2002

Memorial Stadium (Lincoln, NE), Lincoln, NE

1 2 3 4 T
MIZZ 10 3 0 013
NEB 7 7 7 324

Nebraska 24, Missouri 13

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) _ After getting embarrassed in losses at Penn State and Iowa State, Nebraska's defense finally has something to be proud about. The Cornhuskers held Missouri to less than half its offensive average Saturday in a 24-13 victory, Nebraska's 24th straight over the Tigers. ``This is the first time all year I've seen the defense fly around like that. We were all over the place,'' said Huskers cornerback DeJuan Groce, who returned a punt 89 yards for a touchdown. ``It was fun out there.'' Nebraska was playing without defensive end Chris Kelsay, a senior co-captain who pulled a hamstring the week before in a win over McNeese State. Kelsay leads the team with 4{ sacks, but his team did fine without him Saturday. Nebraska (5-2, 1-1 Big 12) sacked Brad Smith four times and held him to 157 total yards. Smith had been averaging 332 yards per game. The Tigers (3-3, 0-2) gained just 28 yards in the second half and 220 for the game, 221.4 below their average. ``Today we put things together,'' Nebraska defensive tackle Jon Clanton said. ``We came out and put on a show.'' Smith ran 17 times for 34 yards and was 14-of-29 for 123 yards passing. His 157 yards of offense was his lowest output since gaining 281 against Ball State. Jammal Lord ran for 98 yards and threw a touchdown pass and David Horne, playing in just his second game, scored his first career touchdown and rushed for 88 yards for the Cornhuskers. Lord, making his second start since nearly losing his job, recovered nicely after fumbling the Huskers' first snap of the game, which set up an easy touchdown for Missouri. He finished with 17 carries and was 4-of-12 for 34 passing yards with a 1-yard touchdown pass to Aaron Golliday. Nebraska finished with 325 yards rushing and topped the 300-yard mark for the second week in a row. ``We were a little more fluid at times and executed a little better,'' center John Garrison said. ``I think it was a step forward. I don't know what go into us, but something did.'' The Huskers led 14-13 at halftime and pulled away in the third quarter on Groce's third punt return touchdown of the year. Groce took the ball up the middle, then spun punter Brock Harvey around while breaking for the right sideline. Missouri's Brandon Barnes nearly caught Groce from behind, but Groce broke the tackle inside the 10 and made it across the goal line. ``He made several guys miss. It took great talent to put that thing in the end zone,'' Nebraska coach Frank Solich said. ``There are a lot of return guys that would have returned it for 30 yards, 35 yards. But he took it all the way.'' Josh Brown added a 42-yard field goal early in the fourth quarter for the Huskers, who sealed it with about 7 minutes left when Lannie Hopkins caught Smith from behind on fourth-and-2. Smith had only been sacked five times entering the game. ``Give them credit. We were three-and-out, three-and-out, three-and-out,'' Missouri coach Gary Pinkel said. ``It was awful offensively for us in the second half, and it was a great half defensively for them.'' Missouri took a 13-7 lead on field goals of 22 and 44 yards by Mike Matheny before the Huskers took over the game. Missouri's Justin Gage became the Tigers' all-time leader in receiving yards with a 7-yard catch in the first quarter. He needed just 3 yards to break the mark of 2,144 set by Victor Bailey from 1990-92. Gage had seven catches for 47 yards, giving him 2,189 for his career. ``The receiving record is bittersweet,'' Gage said. ``I'm glad I got it, but it's hard to lose. I lost to Nebraska four straight years. It's hard to swallow.''