Columbia. Mo. Missouri won last week without Brad Smith. On Saturday, he emphatically quieted talk of a quarterback change.
Smith set a school record with 480 yards in total offense, ran for three scores and threw for another, turning up the production after Missouri squandered an 18-point first-quarter lead in a 41-24 victory over Nebraska.
"He put up some big numbers on us," Nebraska safety Keith Bullocks said. "It was not a surprise. Brad Smith running around, that kind of hurt us."
Last week, freshman backup Chase Daniel rallied Missouri from a 10-point fourth-quarter deficit in an overtime victory over Iowa State while Smith watched after taking a blow to the head. In the days that followed that comeback, it was suggested Daniel deserved a shot.
"It's pointless to get motivated by that stuff," Smith said. "It wears off. You just have to understand how people are and just go out and play. That's all I can control, how I play the game."
Smith had 246 yards rushing on 28 carries and was 21-for-36 for 234 yards for Missouri (5-2 overall, 3-1 Big 12 Conference), which has won three straight since a 31-point loss to Texas. David Overstreet had a key third-quarter interception to help the Tigers beat Nebraska (5-2, 2-2) for the second time in three years after winning once in the previous 26 meetings.
Missouri has won two straight at home over Nebraska for the first time since 1967 and '69 when the team was coached by Dan Devine. The final score, which gave coach Gary Pinkel his 100th career victory, was identical to that of Missouri's victory at home over Nebraska in 2003.
After the victory, fans tore down both goalposts.
Zac Taylor had two touchdown passes for Nebraska, which entered the game leading the nation in rushing defense at 65 yards per game. Missouri gouged the Cornhuskers for 277 yards on 49 carries and totaled 523 yards.
Nebraska had minus-2 yards rushing on 19 carries, the school's worst total since 1951.
"Do I want to be a minus-2? No," coach Bill Callahan said. "Do I want to run the football? Absolutely. But this game didn't warrant that type of action."
Missouri scored on its first four possessions, three touchdowns and a field goal, to take a 24-10 lead. A pair of turnovers that led to quick scores helped Nebraska tie it at 24 at the half, before Missouri took control again after the break.
Smith's 45-yard run late in the third quarter, his third carry of 40 or more yards, put Missouri ahead to stay at 31-24. In the first quarter he was untouched on a career-long 79-yarder and had a 53-yarder to the Nebraska 16 that set up his four-yard scoring run