Lincoln, Neb. Nebraska fans butchered the pronunciation of Roy Helu Jr.’s last name.
No matter. They’ll be talking about him for a long time to come.
Chants of “HAY-loo, HAY-loo” poured from the Memorial Stadium stands after the senior running back set a Nebraska record with 307 yards rushing Saturday to lead the 14th-ranked Cornhuskers to a 31-17 victory that knocked No. 7 Missouri from the ranks of the unbeatens.
“They called me ’HAY-loo’?” he said. “It’s Roy ’HEL-lou’ Jr.”
The low-key Helu had water dumped on him by teammates on the sideline after the public-address announcer said he’d broken the record of 294 yards by Calvin Jones against Kansas in 1991.
“They were acting like we won the Super Bowl,” he said.
However you say it, Helu’s name now ranks among a long line of running back greats at Nebraska, like Mike Rozier, Ahman Green, Keith Jones.
The Huskers (7-1, 3-1 Big 12) held off Missouri after building a 24-0 lead and moved into a first-place tie with the Tigers in the Big 12 North. Nebraska, which ended a 13-game losing streak against Top 10 teams, earned the inside track to the division title by winning the head-to-head meeting.
Missouri (7-1, 3-1) was off to its best start since 1960. The Tigers have lost 17 straight road games against Top 25 opponents since 1997.
“No one likes to lose,” Missouri coach Gary Pinkel said. “We’ve got to coach better. We lost all of our timeouts in the third quarter. Shoot, are you kidding me? That starts with me.
“It’s our first loss of the year. It’s very difficult for all of us.”