Nebraska needs improved defense to contend in Big 12 North

Their recent performances haven't exactly been artistic successes. But Nebraska's defense will be up for a huge challenge when it faces Missouri's high-powered attack (ESPN2, 9:15 p.m. ET) in an early North Division showdown.

The Blackshirts were gashed for 313 rushing yards and five touchdowns in a 49-31 home loss to USC. They were lucky to escape with a 41-40 victory over Ball State in their next game after being singed for 610 yards.