Excitement Builds For Prime Time Contest

The Texas Aggie football team has the fanbase rejuvenated after a four-game winning streak that has the program within a game of the Big 12 South lead. Aggie Websider's David Sandhop talks about the buzz around campus and looks at the injury status of several key players with No. 8 Nebraska looming on Saturday.

With a four-game conference win streak, the excitement is back for fans of Aggie football. There's a buzz around the Texas A&M campus this week with the No. 8 Nebraska Cornhuskers coming to College Station. Students camped out Sunday night for student tickets to the first Top 20 match-up at Kyle Field in over three seasons. Players and coaches handed out donuts to students in line to receive tickets. It's been years since the university has anticipated such a marquee match-up on national television in prime time. It was the promise of this type of atmosphere that drew head coach Mike Sherman from the NFL ranks back to College Station and Texas A&M where he coached the offensive line back in the program's glory days of the 1990's.

"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."

But through all of the excitement, the Aggies know that they face a formidable opponent in the No. 8 Cornhuskers. While most conference opponents spread the field and pass the ball a majority of the time, Nebraska will pose problems with their No. 7 running game and specifically the power option that will be difficult to defend for Tim DeRuyter and his 3-4 base defense.

"Nebraska will block things a little differently, but Taylor Martinez is a guy who is very capable of making explosive plays just like Robert Griffin III. That's why it's critical for us to have a good week of practice and fit things they way we're supposed to," DeRuyter said. " Nebraska will be by far the best running team we will face this year and they have some explosive players in Martinez and Helu that if you don't defend well it can get ugly like it did in the first half last week."

The Texas A&M offense will face its biggest challenge of the year going up against the No. 6 defense in the nation. The Huskers have allowed opponents to throw the ball for more than 200 yards just three times in 2010, and over 300 yards only once against Oklahoma State. Sherman knows the difficulty in moving the ball against this Nebraska defense.

"They lock you up on the perimeter and they work hard to take those receivers out of the game," Sherman said. "They play man coverage as good as I have ever seen and they have an excellent secondary. I think they have only given up 149.5 yards passing per game, which in this league is pretty impressive, so it will be a challenge for us."

The schedule-makers saved the best for last. In the last home contest at Kyle Field in 2010, Texas A&M will face Nebraska for the last time as members of the Big 12 Conference with the Big 12 title at stake for both teams in this Top 20 battle. As a college football fan, you can't ask for more than that.

News and Notes

• The Aggies are still in the Big 12 title hunt, but need a lot of help with Oklahoma State holding a one game lead and the tiebreaker over the farmers. Texas A&M must win out and hope for the Cowboys to lose to last place Kansas this weekend and Oklahoma next week; or the Aggies can sneak into the title game if Oklahoma defeats Oklahoma State to force a three-way tie among the Sooner, Cowboys, and Aggies and then the BCS computer moves Texas A&M within one spot of the Sooners. With Oklahoma currently for spots ahead in the poll, that appears unlikely barring uninspired wins over Baylor and OSU.

• 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.

• Junior Jeff Fuller grabbed sole possession of A&M's record for consecutive games with at least one catch. Fuller has now made a catch in 30 straight games, which is every game of his career. The record was originally set by tight end Martellus Bennett, who grabbed 29 catches from 2005-2007.

Injury Update

• The Aggies were dinged up in a very physical game with Baylor. Coryell Judie, Garrick Williams, Jeff Fuller, Ben Malena, and Steven Campbell are all questionable for Saturday's game. Judie and Fuller participated in Tuesday workouts while Williams, Malena, and Campbell were limited in drills. Williams is expected to play and a decision on Campbell will be made after Wednesday's practice.

• Offensive guard Evan Eike continues to make slow progress back from a severe sprained ankle suffered four weeks ago. He was available for emergency duty last week, but he is still not close to 100% healthy. He will likely serve as the first man off the bench for the offensive line if needed against the Cornhuskers.


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