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Nebraska vs. Texas A&M
Betting Line: Nebraska -2.5 o/u 54
A win is a win, but the Nebraska Cornhuskers seem to have slowed down just a
tad in the past two weeks. They beat the Kansas Jayhawks 20-3, but probably
should've won 200-3. Before that they needed OT to beat a barely .500 Iowa State
team. Before that they looked great whipping very strong Missouri, and Oklahoma
Fans are hoping the last two games were just hiccups. This week
they will travel to face the Texas A&M Aggies who are on a roll after knocking
off Oklahoma, and Baylor with ease. Can they keep it up against the Huskers?
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Nebraska is a 2.5 point road favorite. The Huskers are getting the most action at 62% compared to 38% for the Aggies. The Huskers are 4-5 ATS compared to 5-4 for the Aggies. The last time these teams met was in 2007. The Aggies routed the Huskers on the road by a score of 36-14. DB Steven Campbell may miss this game for the Aggies due to a foot injury. Texas A&M won the last game against Nebraska ATS, and the year before that was a push, but before that the Huskers took 4 of 5 ATS.
The Huskers own a crazy good mobile QB in freshman Taylor Martinez. He had an incredible game against Oklahoma State where he passed for 323 yards and 5 TDS, while picking up an additional 112 on the ground. He has only thrown 4 INTs this year. That is incredible considering that he is a freshman. This will be his second game back since having to sit out against Iowa State. Look for him to show up in a big way as Nebraska tries to clinch the Big 12 North and the right to play for the Big 12 Title.
Texas A&M has really picked up their play since benching QB Jerrod Johnson in favor of Ryan Tannehill. Johnson is a great QB, but he makes too many mistakes. The good doesn't outweigh the bad. Tanehill has come in and passed for 10 TDs and just 3 INTs in 4 games. The Aggies won all 4 of those games. Throw in RB Cyrus Gray who has emerged as a star, and this offense is a potent one. Gray has rushed for 478 yards and 8 TDs during the Aggies four game winning streak. Points haven't been a problem in the last 4 games. In that span they have put up 40+ 3 times.
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Nebraska's defense under HC Bo Pelini has been exceptional. They put together one of the best defensive efforts of the year last week by giving up just 87 yards of offense to Kansas. Granted, the Jayhawks are having a bad year that is still an incredible stat. They were able to sack the QB 6 times in that game. Stats indicate that they are much less effective on the road when playing defense. On average they allow 252 yards of offense at home, but when traveling that number spikes up to 354. They will have to focus on stopping the Aggies running game which in turn will allow them to shut down the pass.
The Aggies haven't looked so great on defense. They gave up 516 yards and 30 points to Baylor last week. Before that they allowed 375 to Oklahoma, and 452 to Texas Tech. A&M has sacked opposing QBs 12 times in their 4 game winning streak. Although they are giving up huge amounts of yards they are usually keeping points off the board. Just like Nebraska, they play much better defense at home. They know this is a big game and will step up to the plate. Expect them to focus much of their efforts on stopping freshman sensation Taylor Martinez.
Texas A&M still has an outside shot a winning the Big 12 South. They obviously need to win, and then need Oklahoma State to lose this week and next. Games like this don't come the way of Texas A&M very often these days. Here are a few quotes from news sources to illustrate the excitement.
There's a buzz around the Texas A&M campus. Students
camped out Sunday night for student tickets to the first Top 20 matchup at Kyle
Field in over three years. It's been years since the university has anticipated
such a marquee matchup on national television in prime time, but it was the
promise of this type of atmosphere that drew coach Mike Sherman from the NFL
ranks back to College Station and Texas A&M, where he coached the offensive line
back in the glory days of the 1990s.
"Games like this make it special when you are competing for something and the school gets excited," Sherman said. "I went over last night on the way home and talked to some of the kids with their tents, and the enthusiasm makes you so anxious to play well and win the football game. It is special when you have a home game like this."
Saturday's game has been designated by the university as 12th Man Day. The school hopes to break the all-time collegiate record for the number of students attending a football game. The goal is 30,000. The university is also expecting an all-time record crowd at Kyle Field with attendance estimated to be 89,000. The official capacity is just over 83,000.
Of course, all the excitement in the world doesn't mean much if the talent isn't there. But the talent is there at Texas A&M this this year. Just about every set of numbers we use show this has a dead even game. You can't underestimate the motivational and home crowd edge in a game such as this one. We love games like this when we have the numbers working for us AND we have such an electric atmosphere. The current line has Nebraska -2.5 so we're going to go ahead and buy a half point on this one taking it up to a field goal. Texas A&M +3