UPDATE, 12:45am - Some quick thoughts before bed.
Three Bad Things
1. FIVE Missouri drives were killed by penalties, four from holding. One of the keys to this game was staying out of Passing Downs, and penalties just handed Nebraska opportunities to tee off. Bad defenses will stop offenses that are constantly facing 2nd-and-20, and Nebraska's is not a bad defense. The bitter fan in me wants to complain about the validity of these calls, but until I watch the DVR of the game (tomorrow...if I feel like it), I won't say anymore. But the penalties murdered five key Mizzou opportunities--three of the first four drives, the key drive that led to the field goal late in the third quarter, and Mizzou's final drive. Clearly Nebraska deserved to win with the way they played in the fourth quarter, but...I'd have loved to see what might have happened if a couple of those penalties didn't get called. Such is life.
2. Blaine Gabbert clearly still telegraphs his passes a bit, and he clearly needed a reality check. It was good for him to go through this, but I was hoping it would happen either against OSU or Texas--a game Missouri wasn't supposed to win and didn't need as much for a North title--or against a team like Iowa State.
3. Sweet jesus, can we stop getting people hurt? Gabbert could hardly walk in the first half, Carl Gettis could hardly walk in the second half, Wes Kemp was worthless after getting hung out to dry by a bad screen pass and obliterated by Suh, Will Ebner's injury looked pretty bad...injuries are character builders for future seasons and all, but...good god.
Three Good Things
1. Jake Harry is the best Mizzou punter I can remember. He was by far the MVP of the first half.
2. Gabbert showed some serious testicular fortitude on that final drive of the first half. Showing that kind of guttiness while becoming less predictable (and not locking on receivers as much) will make him a helluva quarterback. Still a work in progress, obviously.
3. Man oh man, did the defense look good for the first three quarters. Not counting Helu's late "the game is over" run, the D really only made two bad plays--biting on the slant on the first touchdown, and double-covering the fade route on the second touchdown but completely whiffing on the ball. Otherwise, that was a damn fine defensive effort...they just needed to get something beyond three points in the second half from the offense, and it didn't happen.
Alright, off to bed. Mizzou Links is sleeping in tomorrow.