October 5, 2008

Tiger Notebook: Streak ends with Emphasis

With 7:21 left in the third quarter, Missouri was poised on Nebraska's seven-yard line looking to add to a 31-10 lead. During a timeout, Bruce Springsteen's "Glory Days" blared over the loudspeaker. After a 52-17 thrashing, memories of those glory days were about all that were left for the 85,000-plus in attendance.

The Tigers ended a 15-game, 30-year losing streak in Lincoln with surgical precision.

"This was not just about this 2008 team," Gary Pinkel said. "This was about 30 years of a lot of different fans around the country and the world, Missouri fans, and certainly ex-players. I'm proud of my players for competing hard and finally getting a win at one of the toughest places to play in the country."

The Tiger offense scored on its first four possessions of the first half. They were stopped only when Jeff Wolfert missed a 59-yard field goal on the final play before the break.

After the break, Mizzou stopped Nebraska near midfield. The Huskers elected to punt, but a shank off the foot of Dan Titchener covered only three yards before cruising out of bounds. Missouri went 52 yards for a touchdown that made the score 38-10 and ended any and all speculation about a Husker comeback. Just for good measure, Mizzou put up two more touchdowns before the offensive starters took a seat with a 52-10 lead to start the fourth quarter.

"We just came out there and played a great game," Chase Daniel said. "I think we played well today and hopefully made the nation of Tiger fans proud."

Missouri won its first game in Lincoln since 1978, and put up the second most points it had ever scored against a Nebraska defense. Nearly everything worked for Mizzou on this night.

"Right now, it means a lot, but I'm sure down the road it will mean a lot more," Daniel said. "I couldn't be more proud of everyone that was involved in this and it goes a lot deeper than us. We realize that. It goes to all the heartbreak Missouri fans have had against the Cornhuskers for 30 years."

"It's huge," Brock Christopher said. "I remember I used to go to Mizzou games in the nineties and Mizzou was always getting smoked. I'm sure it means a lot to all the Mizzou alums, all the guys who played here who haven't won in 30 years."

One of those guys was on the sideline on Saturday night. Former tight end Martin Rucker, whose older brother played at Nebraska, shook hands and hugged teammates after the win. Asked if he thought he would ever see this day, Rucker replied, "Yes, I did. That's why I came back."

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