COLUMBIA — For the second time this season, Missouri found itself under pressure late in a game.
Against Bowling Green, the Tigers rallied.
Against Nebraska, they fell apart.
Though Missouri led 12-0 with 15 minutes to go, the Huskers stormed back to shock Missouri 27-12 at Faurot Field, their first victory over the Tigers in three years.
The Huskers, quiet offensively for three quarters, finally made a big play early in the fourth quarter on a 56-yard touchdown pass from Nebraska quarterback Zac Lee to wideout Niles Paul. Following the Husker touchdown pass, star defensive lineman Ndamukong Suh of Nebraska stepped up, intercepting Tiger quarterback Blaine Gabbert at the Missouri 18, the first Gabbert interception of the season.
Two players later, Lee found Paul again in the end zone, and Nebraska had made up a 12-point deficit in 2:01. The two-point conversion failed, and the Huskers led 13-12.
On the ensuing drive, Gabbert threw another interception to Dejon Gomes, who returned the ball to the Missouri eight-yard line. On third down Lee, who was about to be sacked, saw Mike McNeill wide open. McNeill waltzed into the end zone to give Nebraska a 20-12 lead.
Missouri still had a chance, down eight points with much of the quarter remaining, but failed to convert on 4th and 20 from the Nebraska 32-yard line. Gabbert, forced to scramble, threw a desperate incompletion with 5:32 left.
Nebraska tacked on a final touchdown with 0:56 left on a Roy Helu Jr. carry.
For all the slow, methodical control the Tigers maintained throughout the first three quarters, Nebraska totally dominated the fourth.
The first half was relatively even until the last drive.
With 0:03 left in the first half, the Tigers gambled and went for a touchdown from the one-yard line on fourth down. Gabbert plunged across the end zone as time ran out. Grant Ressel’s extra point made the score 9-0, and Missouri left the field with enhanced momentum.
Suh made his presence felt quickly. He forced Blaine Gabbert to fumble on the Tigers’ second drive, which killed a once-promising Missouri scoring opportunity.