Big D's Five Keys Review

Last week, the Aggies only checked off two Aggie Websider's five keys to success. The result? A 35-7 loss to Texas Tech. After dominating the Huskers in Lincoln this week, how many keys did the Aggies rack up this week?

It's pretty simple for the Aggies--follow Big D's Keys to Success each Friday and you'll come home with the W. Last week, the Aggies only followed two (one of which was borderline) and they were embarrassed by Texas Tech.

But they bounced back this week, successfully marking off each key to success and it wasn't even close.

Here's a look back at Friday's keys to success and the result from Saturday.


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.

YES - The Aggies did a tremendous job of jumping on the Huskers early and never really looked back.

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.

YES - The Aggies were +3 in turnover margin this weekend, improving their record to 24-3 under Franchione when they win this statistic.

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.

YES - The Huskers gained more than 400 yards of offense, but they could never get anything going on the scoreboard. The Aggies did an excellent job of keeping the Huskers' offense off balance.

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.

YES - All the Aggies did was put up 359 yards of offense on the ground, 167 of which by Stephen McGee on 35 carries. You can't run the ball much better than that.

5. Focus
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.

YES - The Aggies showed absolutely zero signs of being distracted from all of the rumors of coaching changes and news of the VIP Connection newsletter continues to unfold. This team went on the road and dominated the Huskers.

This week's total grade: 5/5




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