The Cornhuskers, who had won national championships for the 1994 and 1995 seasons, went into the game with an 8–0 record and a No. 1 ranking in the AP Poll. They had only given up seven points in their last three games and had beaten the Tigers eighteen straight times. The Tigers were unranked with a 6–3 record, and in the school’s history, had never beaten a No. 1 ranked team.
In the fourth quarter, Tigers quarterback Corby Jones completed a pass to Eddie Brooks to give Missouri a 38–31 lead, giving Missouri fans hope that they would beat Nebraska for the first time since 1978 and moving then-coach Larry Smith to tears. The Huskers took possession from a punt after Missouri failed to convert a first down on their own 33-yard line with 1:02 left. In less than a minute, the Huskers moved the ball 55 yards. The Huskers were on the Missouri 12-yard line with only seven seconds left when Nebraska quarterback Scott Frost threw a pass intended for wingback Shevin Wiggins. The ball hit Wiggins directly in the chest near the goal line. The ball immediately shot down and hit a Missouri safety in the foot and popped back in the air. Then Missouri safety Julian Jones tackled Wiggins as time expired. As Wiggins was pulled to the ground, his leg popped up, kicking the ball into the air for a second time. Cornhuskers receiver Matt Davison leaped for the ball, his hands scraping the turf as he managed to make the catch in the endzone for a touchdown. Missouri fans stormed the field in celebration, thinking they had won.
The play could have resulted in a 15-yard penalty (illegal kick) if officials had considered the kick intentional. Instead, they ruled the catch a touchdown. Once fans were cleared from the field, Kris Brown kicked the extra point for Nebraska to send the game into overtime. In OT, Frost ran for a touchdown, and Jones was sacked on 4th and seven by Grant Wistrom to give Nebraska a 45–38 win.
Missouri finished the season 7–5 with a loss to Colorado State in the Holiday Bowl. The Tigers did not defeat the Cornhuskers until 2003, ending a 24-game losing streak in the series.
After the game, Wiggins claimed to have kicked the ball intentionally to keep the play alive, and some of his statements indicate that he did so to keep the ball away from Missouri defenders. He also at various times and in later interviews claimed to have been trying to kick the ball back to himself for a catch. Regardless, and unfortunately for the Tigers, the outcome of the game could not be changed after the fact, despite the kick leading to Nebraska's win. The legality of the play remains in dispute among college football fans and experts, as NCAA rules at the time generally made it illegal for an intentional kick (by players other than kickers and punters) but also allowed players to use any part of their bodies - including feet - to help themselves catch a forward pass. Furthermore, the rules only allowed officials to establish intent to kick only as they could determine clearly on the field of play.