The Mizzou Tigers are preparing to face the Nebraska Corn Huskers in Lincoln on Saturday. There are always a bunch of keys to the game but for Mizzou there's one very, very important one: protect the football.
Nebraska is very sharp on defense and Taylor Martinez makes them dangerous on offense as well. So protecting the football, and making the Huskers play on a long field is a necessity.
Missouri QB Blaine Gabbert says protecting the football is obviously a high priority.
"I think we are more of a mature football team. We know how to handle the pressure and we know how to take care of the football. Like Coach Pinkel said, when you win the turnover margin, you win the football game. I believe we won the turnover margin over Oklahoma and that was our 29th victory in a row when we won the turnover margin. So anytime we can take care of the football and our defense is forcing turnovers we are going to win the football game."
How's this for protecting the football: no interceptions in Big 12 play to this point for Gabbert. He's been tremendous at managing the game for the Tigers and making big plays when they're necessary (San Diego State knows what I'm talking about).
Mizzou's defense is good enough that they can probably contain the Huskers if Mizzou makes them go 80+ yards as often as possible. That can be done if the Tigers offense isn't turning the ball over.