|The scoreboard says it all for Chase Daniel and Missouri. (AP)|
It was also lighter fluid for the nation's No. 4 team, which has been looking to legitimize itself with a balanced effort all season. Consider it done. Missouri's 52-17 victory had all the Spurrieresque swagger of the mid-'90s Gators, except it was bumbling Nebraska firing off the invective.
"I've never had that happen to me ... blatantly spit on," Daniel said. "They're trying to throw balls at us in pregame. They were hitting me late, obviously. ... Nebraska is definitely one of the dirtiest teams I've ever played."
It didn't last for long. It took three plays for Missouri to score, less than a half to bury its tormentors and an evening to realize that winning in Lincoln for the first time in 30 years wasn't the best thing that happened.
Let this serve as official notification that Missouri can win the BCS title without a defense. Well, without a championship defense. Although the Tigers played their best game of the season -- and maybe their best ever against Nebraska -- the roadmap for the season has been drawn. If everything else goes bad, these record-setting Tigers can outscore everyone. That includes everyone from Oklahoma to Cincinnati -- the Cincinnati Bengals, that is.
If that means a 52-50 thriller against the Sooners in the Big 12 championship, then so be it.
"All we do is sit in bed (and hear), 'Chase Daniel is a great quarterback and the Missouri defense sucks,' " Missouri linebacker Brock Christopher said. "That's what we hear. It kind of puts a chip on our shoulder."
That from a guy who returned an interception for a touchdown. But this is still a team with an offense that has a license to kill. Everyone else has a fake I.D.
If it wants to chase something more than Big 12 North titles, Missouri is going to have to button up things on the unit that came into the game 79th nationally in total defense and last in the Big 12. The worst defense of any BCS champion this decade has been Ohio State (No. 23 in 2002).
It was about this time last season when the defense was hemorrhaging yards. Then the unit went on to lead the Big 12 in total defense in conference games. Right now, no Tiger cares either way. About the rankings, that is, not the final score.
"We've got some work to do, obviously, before we get there," Christopher said, "but I think we've got enough talent to get things done."
Huskers coach Bo Pelini got Missouri's attention during the week when he said his team would "try to shut them out."