Originally created 10/25/98

Huskers hold off Missouri



LINCOLN, Neb. -- Former walk-on quarterback Monte Christo came off the bench for starter Bobby Newcombe, running for two second-half touchdowns as No. 7 Nebraska rallied to beat No. 19 Missouri 20-13 on Saturday.

Like last year's dramatic finish between the teams, it came down to the last play again. But this time, the Cornhuskers (7-1, 3-1 Big 12) didn't need an amazing catch to win.

Last year at Columbia, Mo., Matt Davison caught a pass in the end zone after it had been kicked by teammate Shevin Wiggins as the Huskers tied it on an amazing final play, then won 45-38 in overtime.

Christo, nicknamed "The Count of Monte Christo," was the difference this time with his extra-effort running, gaining many of his 67 rushing yards after contact with defenders.

But Christo also gave the Tigers (5-2, 3-1) a final opportunity by fumbling a snap as Nebraska tried to run out the clock, giving Missouri the ball near midfield with 1:38 to play.

Corby Jones drove the Tigers to Nebraska's 22 with nine seconds left, before throwing incomplete to John Dausman in the end zone. Jones lined the Tigers up with four seconds left, scrambling to find an open receiver before Eric Johnson sacked him for a 12-yard loss to end the game.

Nebraska players came off the sidelines to pile on Johnson, celebrating the Huskers' 20th straight victory over Missouri.

Christo, a fifth-year senior who endured a series of injuries through his first four years in Lincoln, scored his first career rushing TD on a 1-yard run late in the third quarter to tie it 13-13.

With a 3-yard keeper with 10:27 to play, Christo put the Huskers ahead 20-13, giving Nebraska the margin it needed to extend its home winning streak to 47 games.

The Huskers limited Missouri's Devin West, the nation's No. 2 rusher at 175.1 yards per game, to 72 yards on 24 carries. The Tigers rushed for only 77 yards.

Jones, who threw for 233 yards and three TDs last year against Nebraska, was 8-of-20 for 89 yards this time.

Wiggins and Davison contributed again on the third-quarter drive that helped Nebraska tie it 13-13. Wiggins returned a punt 43 yards to Missouri's 14. On third-and-8 from the 12, Christo threw his only completion -- a 7-yard pass to Davison, who scooped the ball just above the turf much as he did in making last year's catch.

Christo got a first down on a sneak and scored two plays later.

Newcombe, still limited by swelling stemming from a partially torn knee ligament, rushed for 33 yards and was 7-of-11 for 65 yards.

Missouri led 13-6 at halftime, thanks to a 41-yard fumble return for a touchdown by defensive tackle Steve Erickson and a blocked field goal that Harold Piersey returned to the Nebraska 25.

Four minutes into the second quarter, the 6-foot-4, 280-pound Erickson collected a fumbled pitch from Christo to Correll Buckhalter and ran untouched to the end zone.

Freshman Brian Long, attempting his first college extra point, was wide left.

About three minutes later, nose tackle Jeff Marriott blocked a 38-yard field goal attempt by Nebraska's Kris Brown. Wade Perkins caught the ball and pitched to Piersey, who ran 44 yards to the Nebraska 25.

The Tigers drove to a first down at the 3 and, after Chad Kelsay jumped offside, first-and-goal at the 1. Devin West appeared to fumble on his first of three unsuccessful dives, but on fourth down Jones scored on a keeper 4:58 before halftime.

Newcombe directed a 68-yard scoring drive, capped by Brown's 30-yard field goal as the first half ended.