Lincoln, Nebraska (KMOV) -- Jimmy Carter was president. Van Halen released their debut album. It was 1978. That was the last time the Missouri Tigers traveled to Lincoln and walked off of the field at Memorial Stadium victorious. Over the majority of the 30 years since that defeat, Nebraska has dominated Missouri.
On the Huskers last two trips to Columbia, the Tigers have shown that they were closing the gap in the rivalry, defeating Nebraska 41-24 in 2005 and 41-6 in 2007. Although Missouri was probably the more talented team in 2006, they still couldn't find a way to win in Lincoln, dropping the contest 34-20. With a 52-17 thumping of the Huskers Saturday night, the Tigers made a loud statement that the tide has finally turned in this rivalry.
"That wasn't just about the 2008 team," Missouri coach Gary Pinkel said. "This was about 30 years of fans from around the world and a lot of former Missouri players. I am certainly proud of our players for competing hard and finally getting a win at one of the toughest places to play in the country."
It took just three plays for Chase Daniel to get the offense going as he hooked up with fellow Heisman Trophy candidate Jeremy Maclin for a 58-yard touchdown pass less than a minute into the game. Daniel found Maclin wide open on a short crossing pattern and the sophomore blew past the Nebraska defense like it was standing still.
Nebraska quickly struck back. In just seven plays, the Huskers drove 65 yards and knotted things up on a 20-yard pass from Joe Ganz to Nate Swift. Not wanting to be outdone, the Missouri offense marched 80 yards on 8 plays with Derrick Washington capping off the drive with a three-yard touchdown run.
From that moment, the rout was on. Daniel threw for 253 yards and three touchdowns while Washington rushed for 139 and a pair of scores as the Tigers ran away from the Huskers on their way to a 52-17 victory that left Nebraska battered, bruised and embarrassed.
"Damn right, yes, I'm embarrassed," Nebraska coach Bo Pelini said. "I apologized to the team. I apologize to the state of Nebraska. I apologize to everyone associated with Nebraska football."
The loss marked the sixth straight time that the team that was once unbeatable in Lincoln has lost to top-20 ranked opponents at home. Over the past 30 years Husker fans often left Missouri games early because their team was defeating the Tigers so badly. Saturday night they left after three quarters, demoralized. What used to be an always electrifying Memorial Stadium crowd seems to have finally gotten used to its team's mediocrity.
Matt Eichinger is a J-student at Nebraska