It’s 7:31. ESPN just finished their first report from Columbia. Yep, it’s raining. I know many of you don’t like Lou Holtzszszszsz but he makes an interesting point – “Rain is good if you’re the visiting team, it takes the crowd out of the game.” This isn’t always true (see 1992 Colorado @ Nebraska), but if you are an “easy-come-easy-go” fan base like Missouri, it’s more likely to be accurate. Let’s see if Dr. Lou is right.
7:59 – About to lose my Dodgers bet on CentSports. Unless ManRam can deliver in the 9th.
8:01 – Kickoff. Impressed that Adi Kunalic reaches the endzone with slippery turf and wet ball.
8:03 – No play clock could be bad news for Shawn Watson and Zac Lee. That has been an issue getting plays off properly. Mizzou is running effectively. Not good sign.
8:05 – Pressure from Suh for the first time – and offensive pass interference. Must force punt with 2nd and 25 coming up. Good coverage on deep ball by Amukamara.
8:08 – First time Mizzou stopped on initial drive in three years. NU takes over at own 20. Time to envoke the inner-Lombardi. “Running makes you hardnosed. The more you run, the more hardnosed you are.” Helu for 12 on first carry.
8:11 – Lee fails on two passes, but at least they were on target. I hope that was not a designed long snap. Special teams failures can kill in big games. NU’s just made the first critical mistake. Pressure is on the Blackshirts.
8:15 – Smart game plan by Mizzou – get the ball to Danario Alexander. Asante cannot take poor tackle angles tonight – Derrick Washington will eat that up.
8:19 – Suh makes Big Red’s first big play. Great pursuit and forced fumble - good job by Crick to corral it as quickly as he did with the wet conditions.
8:21 – With the wet conditions, officials will be looking for a lot more holding penalties. Guys trying to get a hold of anything to make a block. Costly holding penalty on Niles Paul, but on target throw from Lee to Gilleylen gets back the first down.
8:24 – Burkhead gets great lead block from Keith Williams – big first down.
8:25 – Ricky Henry, poor poor penalty. Chop block?!?!?! Please don’t tell me we have another Richie Incognito on our hands.
8:30 – HEY! Dodgers came back and won. That means I did too!
8:31 – Dijon Gomes makes his first appearance. And Suh cleans up. NU is playing physical. But another special teams screw up just gave Mizzou the ball at the 33. This is going to hurt. Must execute and help out your teammates.
8:38 – D-line is applying the heat and the secondary is covering downfield. Way to pick up the special teams! The injury to Blaine Gabbert combined with the spector of Suh and Co. bearing down has rattled Gabbert. End of first quarter – no score. In other sports, it’s opening night of the UFL. I cannot tell the difference between the California team and the Las Vegas team. Seriously, with four teams you couldn’t assign distinctive colors?
8:45 – P.J. Manigieri – three snaps – three mistakes – two points Missouri. When Niles Paul’s fielding of a punt is your only good special teams play, you are doomed.
8:55 – The offense is sorely missing Roy Helu. Missouri knows NU cannot run without him. Defense will have to set up the score, or just score themselves. The radar does not show an end to the rain anytime soon.
9:02 – I would like to see NU line up in the “I” and pound it between the tackles. Mizzou has been gashed by lesser teams and there hasn’t been so much as a probe sent through the middle yet.
9:08 – Lee needs to channel his inner-Eric Crouch and run. Don’t kill your receivers by throwing off balance and high.
9:10 – Who says Suh isn’t a leader? Just got in Lee’s face. Defense has done everything to dominate this game and the offense is misfiring. Wonder if #93 can get upstairs and do the same thing to Shawn Watson. The weather is not conducive to this kind of play calling. Bow your necks and RUN THE BALL!
9:16 – Another stop. But lost the field position again and another near special teams disaster. I know the rain is causing havoc, but Mizzou hasn’t muffed any punts or made any bad snaps. It would be a shame to lose this game because NU’s special teams are out to lunch.
9:23 – Did Shawn Watson also come down with swine flu? Because this play selection has been awful! And why did NU try to rush to the line after the first down? Run the darn clock out and go to the locker room. Now the punt team – which has sucked all game long – allows a big return. Thank goodness Mizzou can’t control their tempers or they would be in easy scoring range. Oops, Amukamara falls and Mizzou is within walking distance of the endzone. This could be a huge momentum boost for the Tigers.
9:34 – That touchdown is on Shawn Watson. To rush to the line of scrimmage after Memo Holt’s first down catch was ridiculous. With 1:45 left and 75 yards to the endzone in the rain with an offense that has struggled you DON’T DON’T DON’T play hurry up. You take your time and run the clock out and go to half down 2-0. You have to play smart football in the elements and so far the offensive game plan and special teams execution has been anything but. The first 5:00 of the third quarter is going to be very important. NU must find their way on offense early in the second half or else the defense will have to score twice to win. That’s long odds.
9:47 – Good Lord, someone stop Dr. Lou!
9:58 – Jesse Palmer is right – this game ends now if Mizzou scores a TD. And I was wondering when a bad shotgun snap was going to rear it’s ugly head.
10:00 – Just a wild thought…..is it time for a Cody Green sighting? Just to give Zac a breather and to give Mizzou a different look. We need a run threat and if Helu is not healthy, a fresh pair of legs would be nice.
10:07 – Well, the first 5:00 of the second half are almost gone. Outside of field position, NU has done nothing outstanding. Just too much pressure on the defense to make a play. I think they’ll get one, but it may be too late. Plus the offense would have to execute with making bad snaps, penalties, missed assignments, or getting poor play calls from upstairs.
10:12 – Having flashbacks to 2004 and Bill Callahan’s first season of crappy punt returns. Here comes Santino Panico!
10:17 – Barry Turner needed Lester Haynes’s stick-em. Great anticipation. Again, defense will have to score to give NU a chance to win.
10:20 – Give credit to Mizzou’s rugby punts. They aren’t pretty, but they are deadly. That could be the beginning of the end for Nebraska based on the field position. This series and whatever NU does on special teams will likely determine the Huskers’ fate.
10:24 – Hells Bells are ringing…..here comes the undertaker.
10:31 – How many Godforsaken picks is this team going to drop? Should not be wearing gloves in the rain – they are worthless when wet.
10:34 – Again, I ask…..why not Cody Green?
10:35 – End of the third. And Rex Burkhead converts a 3rd and 3 – and had to work hard to do it. Give credit to Mizzou’s defense – they are making Zac Lee look like a rookie and taking advantage.
10:41 – Lightning strikes…..the good kind. Zac Lee hits a man in stride and somehow Niles Paul treats it like a pass and not a punt. Now the Blackshirts need to pin their ears back and change this game. Down five with plenty of time remaining. Cannot believe Mizzou let Paul right down the middle of the field.
10:46 – And the ball sticks! The defense comes through. Now the offense MUST cash in.
10:47 – Niles Paul AGAIN! What in the Hell??!!?!
10:50 – Cannot remember a switch of fate like this in quite some time. And one that benefits Big Red. Ndamukong Suh is having a monster nite in front of 20+ NFL scouts….and Mel Kiper just changed his pants for the second time tonight. Suh’s performance is nearing Rich Glover vs OU-esque proportions.
10:55 – Horrible call by official on Suh.
10:56 – Dijon “FREAKIN” Gomes!
10:58 – And we have found Mike McNeill! This is unbelievable. 20-12 with 10:34 to go. That’s three scores in about 3:00. Another stop and Nebraska could crush Missouri in a game they were destined to lose.
11:05 – Why did we go back to the rover again? Be aggressive. Pressure!
11:07 – Horsecollar!!!! NO, he had the freakin jersey!
11:11 – Time for another play on defense. This drive could determine the game. Oh, wait. I’ve said that before and been proven wrong. Okay. How about just get a stop and let the chips fall where they may.
11:14 – Of all the times to get pass interference…..wow!
11:16 – Secondary has played wonderfully. Two throw aways after a long time to throw. Only Amukamara’s slip late in the first half has kept it from being near perfect.
11:23 – Roy Helu ices it and the ESPN shot of the game – a crying Missouri player. Let’s hope Helu’s shoulder is okay. And the Missouri fans trudge home in the rain. What a sweet sweet victory.
11:30 – Of course Erin Andrews gets to be the first to know about the Blackshirts. Mike Babcock doesn’t look as good in tight pants.
That’s the ball game folks! I’ll be back after the Friday Husker Tailgate with my complete thoughts on this victory. You’re not going to want to miss Friday morning’s programming on KLIN. Jack and I will take your calls from 6-8 and then Kevin Kugler and Joe Ganz will join us for more reaction from 8-9am. If you are stuck in the office or from out of town, you can hear us on KLIN.com and call us toll free at 1-877-733-6811 or the regular 479-1400 if your are in Lincoln. See you in the morning. Crap, that’s going to come early.