The Five Questions: The answers are in

Prior to this game, we gave you five questions we thought the answers to would dictate just who came out of this game on top. So, did it work out like that? Considering the ending we have all seen, you might say that it renders the entire game moot. It doesn't, of course, but just to see how much certain things did have an impact, we look at our five questions, "before" and "after."

Who will rush for more yardage?

BEFORE: There's an old saying about controlling the line. If you control it, you control the game. That's football, and in a game like this, where good running games along with potential weather issues could dictate much of how this game will be played.

For both teams you have great running backs, Texas with Jamaal Charles and Selvin Young and Nebraska with the dynamic duo times two, Brandon Jackson, Marlon Lucky, Cody Glenn and Kenny Wilson.

Nebraska has the edge in the number of backs, which could mean fresher legs throughout the game. However, Texas has the better offensive line. >
RB, Jamaal Charles

It should be noted that while Texas ranks amongst the best in stopping the run, backs like Iowa State's Stevie Hicks and, of course, Oklahoma's Adrian Peterson, managed over four yards per carry.

Add that to the fact that Texas has approximately 25 sacks for a total loss in yards of around 150, you can see that while their run defense is indeed stout, there are weaknesses to be exploited.

If you can run the ball, you can control the clock, and as we have seen this year, Nebraska head coach Bill Callahan likes holding onto the ball. Fans have bristled at times at his penchant for the run over the pass, but it has worked in garnering wins.

If Nebraska can put together a better running game than the Longhorns, Callahan might get yet another win without airing out the ball.

AFTER: Texas finished the game with 128 yards on the ground to Nebraska's 38. We talked about how that related to the running game means you control the clock. That panned out as Texas had the ball for almost a full 10 minutes more than the Huskers.

Much like Iowa State and Oklahoma proved, however, Brandon Jackson, the back with the most carries for the Huskers, averaged almost six yards per carry. The -3.6 for Taylor, though, due in a large part to the sacks, accompanied by less than effective running by the rest of the Husker running backs, equaled Texas, at least statistically, having another stellar outing.

Who has the most time on their hands?

BEFORE: Kind of a by product to the running game, time of possession will be key for both teams. As you don't expect either to go through the air with Texas Tech-like frequency, the offense that keeps the ball longer could have the edge in the end.

Time of possession favors Texas, though, even if they don't have the ball near as much as the Huskers. I say this, because the Horns have a clearly better offensive line. You can say what you want about Nebraska being more physical than last year or being bigger, but last year's line is a poor comparison.

That line was one of the worst Nebraska has had since I really started watching Husker football in the early 80s.

If Nebraska has a slight edge in time of possession, I figure that's a push of sorts, neither team benefiting greatly. But if Nebraska has a big edge, say five minutes or more, that means the Huskers are doing something right.

If Texas wins the T.O.P outright, though, it's probably lights out for the big red.

AFTER: As illustrated above Texas did indeed win the T.O.P battle and convincingly. Not much more needs to be said based on what we assumed could happen for either club, given the potential advantage in time of possession. Texas clearly won this, and the predicted conclusion came to fruition, though, it certainly didn't end up going Texas' way quite how anyone envisioned.

Who is under more pressure?

BEFORE: With Texas having close 30 sacks and Nebraska having just reached double-digits this last weekend against Kansas State, the obvious edge in pass rushing potential goes to the Horns.

That's odd when you consider that most of the players who accounted for all those sacks for Nebraska, are back, supposedly stronger and faster than ever before.

One big reason for the lack of production has been what offenses are doing against Nebraska this year. The 50 sacks the big red amassed last season wasn't lost on any opponent thus far throughout the 2006 campaign.

It's been quick passing games, lots of quarterbacks moving around and even a real dedication to the run.

That doesn't get any easier against Texas as they run out of the shotgun the entire time. Starting QB Colt McCoy has some mobility as well, though, nobody is going to be comparing him to Vince Young………….ever.

Zac Taylor clearly doesn't have that kind of mobility. He can run when he has to, runs well out of bootlegs, but if the defense knows he's going to run, he's a sitting duck.

The running game obviously negates the pass rush, but both teams will have to pass. Who has the most time and the biggest lanes to throw through, that could be the guy who gets to dictate the game all on his own.

In a game like this, you think run first and hopefully the passing game is a nice compliment. The more time the QB gets, the more likely that strategy will play out. Right now you would have to get the advantage to Texas there, but we'll just have to see. It's easy to say, however, that a QB flat on his back, won't do anyone much good.

AFTER: For the game Texas had four sacks, while Nebraska had three.

That's actually not bad on Nebraska's part, because they were going against such a noted line. And it's not bad for Nebraska's offense either, as they were swiss cheese like in the first half, but buckled up and actually gave Taylor lots of time in the second half of the game.

What happened from that contact behind the line of scrimmage was telling, though, as Zac Taylor coughed up the ball once, Texas recovering. Colt McCoy actually coughed it up three times, but like Nebraska, only one went to the other team. The difference in the losses was that when McCoy lost his fumble, which was forced by Bo Ruud, it was in Nebraska territory. When Taylor lost his, it was unfortunately also in Nebraska territory. The first one still gives Nebraska a ways to go for a touchdown. The one by Taylor almost put Texas in field goal range from where the ball was spotted.

Sweed or Purify?

BEFORE: A couple of weeks ago you probably wouldn't have known who Nebraska's go-to receiver was. While there has been solid production from a few over the last year and a half, nobody has really stepped up and said that they were THE guy.

Without starting a single game junior wide receiver Maurice Purify seems to have done that, becoming almost the only target the senior QB looks to when the San Francisco Junior College product is on the field.

Purify is a weapon as well, because he's got the size, solid speed and his hands are about as good as you are going to see. If it's even close to him, he catches it, even if it takes a couple of tips before hand to bring it in.

Of course, you can say all that and even more about Texas' number one man Limas Sweed. He's been the go-to guy all year for an inexperienced Colt McCoy, and it hasn't helped defenses stop him one bit. It's something when a team drops back to pass, the defenses have a good idea of where it's going, and they still can't do a damn thing to slow it down.

Nebraska ran into that against USC's Dwayne Jarrett, and they will see someone like that again. The Huskers won't be able to stop them, but I'm not sure Texas has anyone that can stop Purify either.

Does the team whose number one receiver goes for the most yards, win the game in the end? Maybe not, but I think it's safe to say that whichever team has the most productive receiver won't be hurting their cause when it's all said and done.

AFTER: For the game, Maurice Purify ended with two catches for 84 yards and a touchdown, while Limas Sweed finished up with eight catches for 119 yards and a touchdown.

It's hard to argue the impact Purify's first catch made, going for the first touchdown for the Huskers that day. But with Taylor struggling some early, Purify wasn't able to become as much a part of the offense as anyone would have liked to see.

Conversely, Limas Sweed had a huge TD catch of his own, but typical to what Texas has done all year, he was consistently a weapon for them, getting four times the catches Purify got on the contest.

Purify has the presence and he's certainly one of the biggest playmakers on the offense. But the difference here is basically opportunities. Sweed had more and was able to be a major factor in why Texas stayed in this game to the end.

Which secondary will struggle the least?

BEFORE: Let's face it, and I think that even Longhorns will agree with me on this one: Neither the Huskers' or Horns' secondary is going to make anyone cringe in terror. Well, at least if you are the actual opponent.

Statistically, you could say that the secondary is the weak link of both squads.

When that's the case, it often does come down to who out of the two struggling units, can rise to the occasion and make a play for their team.

Does that lots of pass break ups or lots of interceptions?

Actually, no. It could be one key break up or one very timely interception.

The common thought for both these teams is that their defenses' success will start at the line. They will win the battle with pressure on the QB, and solid tackling at the point of impact by the linebackers. So little faith is put in both units that you figure if it does come down to them having to win the game, you wonder who's advantage it will be.

I wonder that myself, and I think that while I am not expecting excellence, the secondary that can at least

AFTER: For the game Nebraska had 302 yards passing, while Texas had 220

If you hadn't seen the game you might have said that would have meant Nebraska did what they wanted to do.

Part of the bloated passing stats (and as we have come to learn about Callahan's offenses over the last few weeks, that is actually a very bloated number) it means that Nebraska passed because they had to.

The running game wasn't working at all for most of the game, so it was Air-Huskers for much of the second half.

The difference comes down to interceptions by the other team, Nebraska having one intercepted, a very bad decision by Taylor in trying to make a play where there was none to be made. And Texas had none picked off.

Out of the six pass break ups for NU, half came from the secondary, arguably the biggest one by Cortney Grixby, who had the novel idea of turning his head back for the ball, while covering Limas Sweed. Grixby batted the ball away, keeping Texas from adding another TD. Of course, Texas scored on a pass the very next play, but at least the secondary managed to get it right once.

When you get right down to it, who did the most with the passing game as it was meant. I mean that simply from the fact that a Marlon Lucky to Nathan Swift TD looks great and it was a HUGE boost for the Huskers, giving them the lead over UT, but I doubt anyone will be talking about the second year running back as one of the better quarterbacks in the Big 12.

It was a gimmick play, but one that worked to a tee.

Both teams gave up one huge TD off either bad coverage or in the case of the Limas Sweed touchdown, bad luck as the defender who had Purify was knocked off of the tackle by the other Texas defender coming in. Purify, with the great balance he has, stayed on his feet and galloped into the end zone.

Texas had two touchdowns via the passing game in the traditional sense. Nebraska had one. Texas hit on 63% of its passes. Nebraska hit on 55% of theirs. On third down conversions, Texas was 7 of 18 while Nebraska was 4 of 13

Nebraska had some moments in this game, and at least one shining moment where that play kept points off the board. But to say that the Nebraska secondary won is like saying that you won a hot dog eating contest. Yeah, you won, but the day after, what does that ultimately mean?

For Nebraska it means that they can attribute many of their short comings to the lack of solid play in the secondary. As to the latter, you just end up feeling sick.

I'd say both have at least one thing in common.

OVERALL: For those that actually watched the game, nobody is regaling us about the wondrously dominant Texas team that strode into Lincoln, guns blazing, only looking to get out with nothing less than a 20-point win.

They get out of their with a win on the shoulders of Terrence Nunn's mistake. Yes, he wasn't the only one who made a mistake, but he did it against Missouri, fumbled twice last week against Kansas State and has had continuing issues holding onto the ball in the return game.

Texas neither dominated nor destroyed. They didn't put anyone in awe, much less the team they faced, who had came back from a deficit to actually take the lead.
I have no doubt that national media will all but ignore anything Nebraska did, throwing this off to the weather playing a part, though, it didn't even start snowing until the second half. Or they will say it was the first game outside of Texas for the Horns, as if that's an actual excuse. They will say probably anything to excuse Texas from this narrow win and say that Nebraska still has a long ways to go, but nice job for a gutsy performance, typical of those upstart teams, who nobody expects much from.

That's the unforgiving tone you can expect. You will hear far more excuses for a Texas team that made mistakes, though, Nebraska actually and statistically made more.

Nebraska didn't answer all the questions positively, and that all played a part in why the Huskers now look at two losses instead of one. But I'm will to bet that Nebraska will meet this team again, and before the end of the year.

Much like in boxing, there are certain fights that you know will have eventual rematches, because there were just so many unanswered questions at the end of the first bout. This is just like that. Texas won so they don't need the rematch. Nebraska lost, so they do.

The questions won't change for the next time they meet either. But maybe for Nebraska, the answers will.

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