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Story ran on October 23, 1994

Missouri defensive tackle Damon Simon winced momentarily while fielding
questions in the aftermath of the Tigers' loss to Nebraska yesterday.

``I have a headache,'' Simon said. ``I'm just mentally drained.

``This was a case of us beating ourselves.''

Perhaps Simon's emotional sap was running a bit low because Missouri (2-5, 1-2
Big Eight) put on two defensive shows in losing to the No. 3 Cornhuskers 42-7.

The first half had Missouri fans providing a standing ovation and demanding an
encore.

But the encore performance left much to be desired in the eyes of coaches and
players alike.

The Tiger defense came out and dominated the Cornhuskers (8-0, 3-0) at the
start. The nation's top rushing team had just eight plays in the first quarter
and did not convert a first down.

``We only had the ball something like nine plays,'' said Nebraska coach Tom
Osborne said. ``I wasn't sure we were ever going to get on track. ... I
couldn't find anything to work.''

At half, the Tigers trailed 14-0, but they felt good in holding NU to 133
yards rushing and 78 yards passing.

``We were getting excited because we stopped them and I think they lulled us
into a comfort zone,'' said defensive guard Steve Martin. ``Then they came out
and found a play that worked, and they kept hitting it.''

The Tigers didn't do much to help their own cause at times. The defense
deflated in the second half allowing 271 yards and four touchdowns.

One of the most pivotal defensive breakdowns came midway through the third
quarter. The Cornhuskers had intercepted a Jeff Handy pass and a few plays
later had a first and goal opportunity from the 7. The Tigers showed resolve
until fourth and 1 rolled around.

At that point, Martin wasn't quite sure what had happened.

``We didn't get everybody in on that drive, we were short two guys,'' Martin
said. ``We were missing an interior lineman and I think a secondary guy.''

Martin said he thought the Tigers were one player short, but he wasn't worried
because he saw someone enter the game.

``I figured we were going to be OK,'' Martin said.

But the end result was NU quarterback Brook Berringer throwing a 1-yard pass
to tight end Mark Gilman.

Defensive line coach Ricky Hunley said it wasn't as though the Tigers made any
significant alterations in the second half. The attitude adjustment he saw was
nothing that the coaches had prescribed.

``They're a good ballteam, but hell, they're not that much better,'' Hunley
said of Nebraska. ``They're not 40-some points better than we were. It's
disappointing because you expect your players to fight ... every play.''

While Osborne speculated that his team might have ``worn Missouri down,''
Hunley would have none of that.

``Who gives a rat's'' rear end ``about size?'' Hunley asked.

Even though Nebraska is known for its running dominance, the Tigers had more
than their share of problems of containing Berringer in the second half. After
Gilman scored, the Cornhuskers struck again when Berringer hit split end
Brendan Holbein with a 30-yard pass.

With six minutes to play in the game, Berringer lofted a 43-yard touchdown
pass to split end Reggie Baul.

``I don't think it is that we couldn't contain; we lost contain,'' said MU
cornerback Clayton Baker. ``It's one thing to know what a team is going to do,
it's another thing to stop it.''

But Hunley was particularly distressed that the Tigers seemed to undergo some
sort of metamorphosis in the second half. He said it wasn't so much the
Cornhuskers that stopped MU. The Tigers managed to do a fine job of that on
their own.

``I've always been a big-game player,'' said Hunley, who played in two Super
Bowls with the Denver Broncos. ``And I don't know how many big-game players
we've got.''

By JENNIFER KUESTER

CUTLINE

Nebraska wideout Reggie Baul comes down with a pass good for a first down
against MU cornerback Kevin McIntosh. (Chris Ocken photo)

Tiger linebacker Darryl Chatman grabs but can't bring down fullback Brian
Schuster. (Lisa D. Finger photo)


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