The Nebraska Cornhuskers come into Columbia to kick off Big XII football in a big way. Thursday night, pouring rain, ESPN, and Erin Andrews. What more does a huge game need? This game figures to be a close contest between two ranked teams. What are the key matchups that will decide tonight's game?
Mizzou interior offensive line vs. Ndamukong Suh
Suh is a potential All-American and top 5 pick in the NFL Draft. He creates a huge matchup problem for any team he faces. Suh has two sacks on the season and is constantly wreaking havock in the opponent's backfield. Austin Wuebbels, Tim Barnes and Kurtis Gregory will have their hands full with the talented defensive tackle, and if they succeed in limiting his effectiveness, Blaine Gabbert should have a nice pocket to step up into. If not, he could be running for his life.
Weatherspoon is the engine that makes the Missouri defense go, but Helu is the same for Nebraska's offense. Helu has 464 yards on 73 carries (6.4 ypc) and 5 touchdowns so far this season and has helped Zac Lee settle in at quarterback. Weatherspoon has been dominant in every game this season, so don't expect that to change as the Tigers enter Big XII play. Winning this matchup will go a long way in winning this game. The Huskers running game has been its strong point on offense, and with the rainy weather, Spoon will have to be in top form tonight.
Blaine Gabbert vs. Nebraska cornerbacks
Gabbert will have to fight with rainy conditions and a tough Husker secondary. This is the biggest game of Gabbert's young career, and he draws the tough task of facing a Nebraska team that has given up a paltry 170 yards per game through the air this season. Danario Alexander, Gabbert's favorite target so far this season, will need to win his matchup and open up opportunities for Wes Kemp and Jared Perry. If Gabbert can connect on a deep ball early in the game, it would give him confidence for the rest of the game.
Faurot Field will be rocking in the rain tonight, and hopefully that will propel the Tigers to victory. Tigers fans would have to feel pretty good at 5-0 going to Stillwater to face a Dez Bryant-less Oklahoma State team.