Even mighty Nebraska needs some luck now and then.
Scott Frost completed a collegiate version of the Immaculate Reception with no time remaining, then ran for his fourth touchdown in overtime as top-ranked Nebraska avoided an upset with a 45-38 victory over Missouri on Saturday."We had some bad breaks and some good breaks," coach Tom Osborne said. "Our good breaks came at the end. I thought we were pretty well done for."
Missouri coach Larry Smith thought so, too.
"It's just one stinking play," Smith said. "That's what it boils down to."
Nebraska (9-0, 6-0 Big 12) stayed unbeaten and ran its conference winning streak to 37 in a row thanks to a bouncing ball that ended up in the hands of Matt Davison for a 12-yard touchdown pass that forced the extra period.
With seven seconds to go, Frost's pass was knocked out of Shevin Wiggins' grasp. Missouri's Harold Piersey appeared ready to intercept the ball, but Wiggins inadvertently kicked it into the air on his way down and Davison made a diving grab just before it hit the turf.
"It was just floating in the air like a punt - end over end," Davison said. "It just seemed like forever for the ball to get there."
The catch shocked Missouri fans who stormed the field and appeared ready to tear down the goal posts before they realized what had happened. Fans have already removed one set of goal posts, after a victory over Texas in October.
The original Immaculate Reception gave Pittsburgh a 13-7 playoff victory over Oakland in 1972.
"Franco Harris?" Davison said. "Yeah, I've seen that play on ESPN a few times."
Nebraska still had more work to do after Davison's catch. But Frost made it pay off three plays into overtime, running 12 yards on the option for the winner. Missouri had two incomplete passes and a 3-yard gain before Corby Jones was sacked on fourth down as Nebraska ran its winning streak against the Tigers to 19 straight.
Jones said Missouri might have been mentally drained before its overtime series.
"Maybe, maybe," Jones said. "We still went out believing in ourselves that we'd get it done, I just made one bad decision."
Missouri (6-4, 4-3) had been 3-0 in overtime the last two seasons, including a 51-50 triple-overtime victory over Oklahoma State earlier this year.
Frost had 141 yards on 23 carries and was 11-for-24 for 175 yards. He was 5-for-10 for 67 yards in the final 1:02 to produce the tying score.