Nebraska leads 10-2
• Saturday is just the second time in the past nine meetings that neither team is ranked 1993.
• Nebraska has averaged 37.6 points per game against the Aggies in six contests since 1997.
• A&M has averaged 7.6 points per game in its seven games in Lincoln.
Nebraska (- 2) – Both teams backs are against the wall for a game that could seal the fate of at least one head coach. I think the home field advantage will be the difference in a game that should be extremely close. Good news for the Aggies though—I'm 0-3 since starting this feature earlier this year.
1. Don't dig their own grave
The Aggies' offense is a ball control offense that can pound away at opposing defenses. But if they fall behind, it's going to be tough to reproduce an Oklahoma State-like comeback against Nebraska on the road. A&M has to stay within striking distance and manage the clock. If the Aggies can get out to a substantial lead of their own, then the Huskers will get an even bigger dose of Jorvorskie Lane.
2. Win the turnover battle
It seems like this is always a key, but in a game with so much on the line for both teams, it will be a hard-fought game. Turnovers could swing the game one way or the other, and for the Aggies, that seems to be a trend. In fact, turnovers seem to be the biggest stat during the Franchione era at Texas A&M. The Aggies are 23-3 in games with a turnover margin, and 7-22 in games with an even or minus turnover margin. In 2007, the Aggies are 5-0 when they win the turnover battle, but 0-2 when even or minus.
3. Keep the Nebraska offense off balance
The Huskers had one of the nation's most diverse offenses in 2006, and entered the season as the favorites to win the Big 12 North title. Nebraska averaged more than 307 passing yards per game through the first five games of the year, including a 389-yard effort against USC. But the Huskers have struggled the last two weeks, averaging just 176 passing yards per game against Missouri and Oklahoma State. Nebraska fans—known for being some of the most loyal fans in the country—were filing out of Memorial Stadium at halftime last week against Oklahoma State down 38-0. The Aggies need to jump on the Huskers early and continue that trend.
4. Run the ball
The Aggies are 5-1 this year when rushing for 150 yards or more, which doesn't bode well for a Nebraska team that boasts the worst rushing defense in the Big 12 (No. 106 in the nation). The Aggies are also the only team in the nation with three players on the list of top-100 rushers. McGee, Lane and Goodson should have a big day this weekend, and if they do, it could be the end of the Callahan era in Lincoln.
The Aggies are dealing with Franchione's VIP Connection off the field and Nebraska is working for a new athletic director—legendary Nebraska football coach Tom Osborne. Both teams have plenty of opportunity to read the newspapers and listen to fans this week, requiring a lot of focus from both teams. The team that is able to handle the distractions best may also be the team who comes out of Saturday's game with the win. Playing on the road may actually be in the Aggies favor this week since everyone in Lincoln will be talking about Bill Callahan's relationship with Osborne instead of VIP emails.
Five Huskers to Watch
1. Sam Keller, Quarterback – Has completed 156-of-246 pass attempts, but has a touchdown-to-interception ratio of 11:10. He can be deadly but he can also make mistakes that the Aggies will have to take advantage of.
2. Marlon Lucky, Running Back – A dual-threat back who leads the team in rushing yards (102 per game) and receptions (36 rec. for 263 yards).
3. Maurice Purify, Wide Receiver – Leads wide receivers with 25 receptions, averaging 13.3 yards per catch and 55.3 receiving yards per game.
4. Bo Ruud, Linebacker – Leads the team with two interceptions and 42 tackles and is the leader on the defensive side of the ball.
5. Cortney Grixby, Defensive Back – Tied with Ruud for the team lead with two interceptions and is an explosive return man, averaging 24.8 yards per kickoff return.
Big D's Keys to Success - Nebraska
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