Baylor's second half against Nebraska offers Bears hope

Wednesday, November 4, 2009 | 12:01 a.m. CST

The Missouri football team's loss to Nebraska on Oct. 8 and Baylor's loss to the Cornhuskers last Saturday had several differences.

The teams faced different quarterbacks with Missouri facing Zac Lee, a junior who had entered the season as Nebraska’s presumed starter, and Baylor going against freshman Cody Green, whom Nebraska was using at quarterback for the first time.

“As far as whether he was going to start or Zac was going to start, we didn’t have any idea really,” Baylor coach Art Briles said on Monday’s Big 12 Conference coaches’ teleconference. “We knew there was a possibility Cody might start.”

Missouri and Baylor meet at 1 p.m Saturday at Memorial Stadium.

It wasn’t just which quarterback they would face that made Missouri and Baylor’s losses to Nebraska different.

The Tigers started quickly. Missouri scored the game’s first 12 points and held a 12-0 lead at the end of the third quarter.

The Bears started slowly. Nebraska blocked a punt for a touchdown before a minute and a half of the game had elapsed.  By the end of the first quarter, the Huskers led 10-0. At halftime, it was 20-0.

The second halves went differently as well. In Missouri, Nebraska made a late push to come back and win the game. Lee threw three touchdown passes in the fourth quarter en route to a 27-12 victory.

At Baylor, Nebraska held on after a late push from Baylor. Green threw a third-quarter interception that Clifton Odom returned for a touchdown. But the Bears failed to score any points on two fourth-quarter drives that went inside the Nebraska 20-yard line. Ben Parks missed a field goal, and the Bears turned over the ball on downs on the other drive, giving Nebraska a 20-10 victory.

“I think we had some guys that pulled together, grew up, and kept fighting, kept believing,” Briles said. “And that’s what you can ask for, and that’s what we’ve got. Now we’ve got to equate it into a victory.”

After its loss to Nebraska, Baylor is still the only team in the Big 12 that doesn’t have a conference win.

“We felt like we gave ourselves a chance to extend the game, get it into overtime, or even possibly win it there late, just if we’re able to convert on a play or two down the stretch. The flip side is we just can’t, we’ve got to start faster. We can’t give up a big play early in the game on special teams like happened to us the other day.”

Briles said he wants his team to play against Missouri like it played in the second half against Nebraska.

“That’s what we’ve got to take out of it, because that’s what we’ve got,” he said. “Right now, we’re fighting hard, working hard to make things happen. We had a little success in the second half.  We’ve got to use that this week against Missouri.”


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