Nebraska scored 27 unanswered points in the fourth quarter to beat Missouri 27-12 Thursday night in Columbia.
Zac Lee threw a 56-yard touchdown pass to Niles Paul and Ndamukong Suh and Dejon Gomes intercepted passes to set up two more fourth-quarter scores.
Lee completed 14-of-33 passes for 158 yards and three TDs to help Nebraska (4-1, 1-0 Big 12) overcome a 12-0 deficit in cold and rainy conditions. "I was digging deep from the beginning," Lee said. "It just didn't show up until the end."
Missouri quarterback Blaine Gabbert, fourth in the country in passing efficiency with 11 touchdowns and no interceptions entering game, completed just 17-of-43 passes for 134 yards and no touchdowns.
Missouri built a 12-0 lead after three quarters, its lone touchdown coming on Gabbert's 1-yard sneak on fourth down with :02 remaining in the first half.
Nebraska rallied with three touchdowns in a 3:22 span early in the fourth quarter. After Lee hit Paul with the 56-yarder, Nebraska defensive tackle Suh deflected and then intercepted Gabbert's pass and the Huskers scored on Lee's 13-yard pass to Paul to make it 13-12. A two-point conversion attempt failed.
Nebraska made it 20-12 on Lee's 8-yard TD pass to tight end Mike McNeill. The score was set up by Gomes' 40-yard interception return to Missouri's 10.
Looking to run out the clock, Nebraska added a final TD on Roy Helu Jr.'s 5-yard run with :56 remaining.
A steady downpour fell throughout much of the game. In the first half alone, the teams combined for 11 punts, nine penalties and six fumbles, including three muffed punts by Nebraska.
For the game, Nebraska had 12 penalties and Missouri eight, with each losing more than 100 yards for those violations. Both teams punted eight times.
Missouri coach Gary Pinkel refused to target the sloppy conditions for his team's uneven performance. "I'm not going to blame the weather on any of this. If you want to win a championship you have to play in any conditions. That's no excuse at all."
Columbia received more than five inches of rain and experienced flash flooding throughout the day and night. A pregame campus power outage darkened all of Memorial Stadium for about 10 minutes before electricity was partially restored.
Passes routinely slipped through receivers' hands and Missouri's lone score was aided by a 38-yard pass from Gabbert to Jared Perry after a Nebraska defender slipped and fell.
Missouri took a 2-0 lead when Nebraska punter Alex Henery tossed the ball backward out of his own end zone for a safety after a high snap.
After Gabbert's sneak, the Tigers added Grant Ressel's 33-yard field goal in the third quarter.
The Huskers' fourth-quarter outburst accounted for 160 yards of offense , 57 more yards than they had for the entire game to that point. Helu carried 18 times for 88 yards.
"We just kept fighting," said Nebraska coach Bo Pelini. "In conditions like that you have take advantage of your opportunities. They took advantage in the first half and we were able to get that done in the fourth quarter."
Missouri defensive lineman Jaron Baston suggested that the Tigers became unnerved after Nebraska's unexpected late-game surge. "Some things went their way and we just didn't react well."
Missouri had just 225 yards of total offense with running back Derrick Washington gaining 80 yards on 20 carries.
With power unavailable for a new, $3.5 million scoreboard in the north end zone, game officials resorted to hand signals instead of the play clock. Rules required officials to shut off the opposite play clock so one team would not have an advantage.
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