Midlands News Service
LINCOLN - Missouri came out for its second possession of the third quarter and Nebraska had settled back into its usual defense.
So much for that plan.
Nebraska pulled defensive end Pierre Allen from a down lineman position and played him standing up on Missouri's first six offensive series. Only one of those didn't result in points, and that was when the first-half clock ran out on the Tigers.
Allen never hit Mizzou quarterback Chase Daniel. And, for that matter, neither did the Nebraska defense other than on a pair of completed passes in the first quarter.
"They came out and did pretty much everything we knew they were going to do," NU cornerback Anthony West said. "It just came down to communication and execution. We just didn't play like we should have and like we know we can."
Nebraska was trailing 38-10 when Allen returned to a three-point stance as Missouri took over with 3:35 left in the third. The return to four down linemen wasn't going to work, either, as the Tigers scored on their next two drives to lead 52-10 before the quarter was over.
Missouri had allowed just two sacks in its four non-conference games, and its protection of Daniel on Saturday night proved that wasn't a fluke.
"It didn't play out the way we expected to," NU defensive coordinator Carl Pelini said. "The defensive strategy was to just give them a lot of different looks. We watched over and over again on film that teams would just sit down and play it safe and just let them kind of just pick 'em apart and move the ball down the field.
"We tried to mix it up. We tried to give them a lot of different looks. We didn't execute. Maybe we're going to go back on film and say, 'Hey, it wasn't a good plan,' but again I can't say that until I look at the film and kind of see exactly what happened out there."
Nebraska had toyed with moving Allen around in other games - and Barry Turner before him until Turner suffered his season-ending injury. Allen on Saturday night was dropping into either gap between the other three linemen.
NU head coach Bo Pelini said it was designed not only to run Allen at Daniel, but bring pressure from "a lot of directions," depending on the call.
"We wanted to get pressure on him," Pelini said. "We started to do that early, started to get some hits on the guy. I thought we could make some things happen.
"We didn't execute. We had some busts. Our guys weren't well-enough prepared to execute the plan and the plan we laid out wasn't good enough."
Defensive end Zach Potter and nickel back Eric Hagg creamed Daniel on the Tigers' third play, but the Heisman Trophy candidate zipped a pass to Jeremy Maclin that turned into a 58-yard touchdown.
Potter came again on Missouri's next possession, but Daniel got off a 10-yard throw to Tommy Saunders. To make it worse, Potter was penalized 15 yards for a helmet-to-helmet hit - and Daniel was barely touched again.
By the time Daniel was finished, the senior had completed 18 of 23 passes for 253 yards and three touchdowns - and wasn't needed in the fourth quarter. It wasn't totally unlike a year ago in Columbia when Daniel sliced up a different Husker plan without much trouble.