Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Underdog Hopes to Have Its Day Nebraska a 25-Point Favorite over Tigers

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Underdog Hopes to Have Its Day Nebraska a 25-Point Favorite over Tigers

Article excerpt

It was there again this week, that dancing glimmer in Larry Smith's eyes last seen before his Missouri Tigers played the Colorado juggernaut two weeks ago.

The Nebraska Cornhuskers, MU's daunting opponent in today's 1 p.m. football game at Faurot Field, evoke the same glazed gaze from Smith, who's no glutton for punishment. He's simply a fiend for challenge.

"I've always kind of thrived on that role of being an underdog. People say you can't do it - prove to 'em you can do it," Smith said. "To me, athletics is about the guy who's not supposed to be able to do it. And he does it."

Nebraska is 7-0, ranked second in one major poll and third in the other, leads the nation in rushing offense and hasn't lost to Mizzou since Jimmy Carter was president (1978). Sure, MU has won twice this season - over Houston, which gamblers now consider "not competitive," and Oklahoma State, which hasn't won a Big Eight Conference game three of the last four seasons.

When MU (2-4) last defeated Nebraska at Faurot Field, in 1973, U.S. forces still were withdrawing from Vietnam. The last 10 times the teams have met, Nebraska has outscored MU by an average of 44.2-15. Only once in coach Tom Osborne's career has Nebraska lost to a team that finished below .500.

Yes, Nebraska only beat Kansas State 17-6 last week - because it ran about five offensive plays because of injuries to quarterbacks.

"Without being able to audible or run the option, the entire offense had one hand tied behind their backs," said quarterback Brook Berringer, who played just over a half against K-State but has recovered from a collapsed lung and will start today.

Oh, and Nebraska has incentive. The 'Huskers, who are 25-point favorites, were snubbed this week by pollsters, who ignored the fact that they had been perched just behind top-ranked Florida and hopscotched Penn State to No. 1 after the Gators lost.

"I'll be quite frank: If we don't come out and play all-out against these people, we'll get knocked out of the stadium," Smith said. "Let's face it. You think they don't want to be No. 1 in the country? You don't think they want to have a big-time score of 50, 60, 70 points?

"You're doggone right they would. …

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