Tigers big underdogs at Nebraska
Nov. 08, 1996
Too bad the Nebraska football team doesn't treat opponents as well as its fans do.
The NU fans may be the most hospitable in the conference, but the NU football squad, without a doubt, is the rudest host in the Big 12. The No. 5-ranked Huskers (7-1 overall, 5-0 in the Big 12) have the longest home winning streak in the nation, which currently stands at 34 games. According to the oddsmakers, NU should have no problems extending it to 35 against Missouri (3-5, 1-4), 49-point underdogs, at 1 p.m. Saturday.
But even if MU does get blown out, the team won't be booed.
"[The fans] are very supportive of the [opponents]," MU quarterback Corby Jones said. "They'll clap for things you do well. Then again, you never know what they're going to do if you win."
For the Tigers to find out, they'll have to play the game of their lives.
"The biggest thing we have to do is be sound," MU coach Larry Smith said. "But that doesn't mean we have to be ultra-conservative and run quarterback sneaks every play."
The Nebraska defense, ranked in the top 10 in the nation in every defensive category, can scare anybody with its speed and big-play ability. The Huskers have intercepted 15 passes and recorded 41 sacks.
Offensively, without quarterback Tommy Frazier, the Huskers have not had the dominant attack of past years. But junior Scott Frost is becoming more comfortable there with each game, and it shows in the developing offense.
"It seems like we're taking two steps forward and one back," Nebraska coach Tom Osborne said. "But, in general, we're getting better as the season goes on. We're a better offensive team week in and week out."
The Huskers, much like MU, use a whole stable of running backs during a game. Ahman Green (532 rushing yards), DeAngelo Evans (445 yds) and Damon Benning (393 yds) are the three main cogs in the attack.
The recipe to beat Nebraska was compiled by Arizona State earlier this year, when ASU stunned the Huskers by a 19-0 count. The biggest lessons — don't give up the big play to the NU special teams and defense.
Smith said the NU defense and special teams this year are better than their counterparts on the Husker national championship team from a year ago.
"You can't let the game get out of hand," Smith said. "That's easy to say, and pretty hard to do. That's how they've won a lot of games."