Nebraska tops Tigers, takes lead in division
Sunday, November 5, 2006
Missouri fell to 6-3 with a 34-20 loss on the road.
LINCOLN, Neb. -- Zac Taylor better watch out. Maurice Purify says he's coming after his job.
"It might happen," a smiling Purify said after Nebraska's 34-20 victory over Missouri on Saturday. "My QB rating is better than his."
Purify threw a 28-yard TD pass to Terrence Nunn on his first career attempt and then caught a scoring pass from Taylor as the Cornhuskers bolted to leads of 17-0 and 27-6.
Despite some anxious moments in the fourth quarter, Nebraska (7-3, 4-2) beat Missouri (6-3, 3-3) for the 15th straight time in Lincoln. The Huskers took sole possession of first place in the Big 12 North and can clinch a berth in the conference championship game with a win over either Texas A&M next weekend or Colorado on Nov. 24.
The victory came after two straight losses, including last week's 41-29 defeat at Oklahoma State after the Huskers squandered a 16-0 lead.
"It's a big win for our program," Nebraska coach Bill Callahan said.
The Tigers had won six straight for their best start since 1963 but now have lost three of their last four.
"If they want to say we're the same old Missouri, let them say it," quarterback Chase Daniel said. "We know that we're a different team, and we can still have a great season. It can't all come at once. Sometimes it comes in baby steps."
Callahan, as he's done from time to time this season, dabbled in trickery to complement the hard running of Brandon Jackson. Besides picking up 111 yards and a touchdown on 32 carries, Jackson caught three screen passes for 61 yards.
The Huskers ran back-to-back reverses to score their first touchdown. Nunn picked up 18 yards on an end-around before Purify took a reverse handoff and lofted a perfect strike to Nunn in the back of the end zone.
Missouri's Daniel was 20-for-38 and 244 yards. He now has 2,531 yards in 10 games, breaking the single-season yardage record set by Jeff Handy in 1992.
The Huskers converted two interceptions into second-quarter touchdowns.