LINCOLN, Neb. — Missouri suffered its first loss of the season Saturday, falling 31-17 at Nebraska.
Down by 17 points late in the third quarter, Missouri had the ball on Nebraska’s 1-yard line with four chances to score.
On first down, junior quarterback Blaine Gabbert lined up under center and attempted to plow up the middle into the end zone. He was denied.
On second down, Gabbert handed the ball off to freshman tailback Henry Josey who managed to get to about the one-inch line. Gabbert faked a hand off on third down, rolled left and had one defender in his way of a score. A low tackle sent the Tigers’ 6-foot 5-inch, 230-pound quarterback spinning backwards.
With one more chance on fourth down, Missouri was called for a false start and forced to settle for a field goal.
The Tigers failed to rebound in the fourth quarter.
With its starting quarterback Taylor Martinez sidelined in the second half because of a leg injury, Nebraska’s offense wasn’t nearly as dynamic as it had been early in the game.
After Missouri went three-and-out on its opening drive of the game, Nebraska scored on its first play from scrimmage. Senior running back Roy Helu Jr. went 66 yards down field without being touched.
Another three-and-out by Missouri’s offense led to a Nebraska field goal that put the Cornhuskers up 10-0 less than three minutes into the game.
Nebraska racked up 107 yards of offense on its first two drives. Missouri had negative one.
The Cornhuskers put up 14 more unanswered points, and had a 24-0 lead at the end of the first quarter.
Missouri managed to outscore Nebraska 7-0 in the second quarter, but still missed several opportunities including a Rolandis Woodland drop in the end zone late in the second half.
The Cornhuskers failed to score on their first series of the second half, so the following 12-play, 78-yard touchdown drive by Missouri put the game in reach at 24-14.
But the Cornhuskers responded quickly. Helu Jr. scored his third touchdown of the game with a 57-yard run.
Without Martinez, Nebraska relied on its running game in the second half. Helu Jr. finished with more than 300 yards in the game.