Lincoln - No. 5 Nebraska's high-powered offense was unable to get rolling against stingy Texas defense, as the Longhorns knocked off the Huskers, 20-13 at Memorial Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
Nebraska slipped to 5-1 overall and 1-1 in the Big 12 with the loss, while Texas improved to 4-2 overall and 2-1 in the conference.
Playing in front of the NCAA-record 308th consecutive sellout at Memorial Stadium and an ABC television audience, Nebraska managed just 202 yards of total offense against Texas. The Huskers entered the game ranked seventh nationally in total offense with 494.4 yards per game.
Texas held NU to just 125 yards rushing, 212.6 yards below its season average of 337.6 yards per game, which ranked second nationally. The Longhorns contained quarterback Taylor Martinez, holding the freshman to just 21 rushing yards on 13 carries. Martinez also completed just 4-of-12 passes for 63 yards.
The Longhorns had some help from the Huskers in containment. Nebraska receivers and backs dropped numerous passes on the day, including multiple passes that appeared to be headed for touchdowns. Those weren't the only balls dropping. NU fumbled five times on the afternoon, including the game's lone lost fumble by Roy Helu Jr. in the first quarter, which led to UT's first touchdown. Helu finished with 11 carries for 43 yards on the day.
That score, a three-yard touchdown run by UT's Garrett Gilbert, gave the Longhorns a 10-0 lead with 8:06 left in the first quarter. Place-kicker Justin Tucker had opened the scoring on UT's first drive with a 27-yard field goal with 10:17 left in the quarter.
Nebraska answered the Texas touchdown drive with a 12-play, 54-yard drive that resulted in a 45-yard field goal by Alex Henery with 14:09 left in the first half, to cut UT's edge to 10-3.
But Texas responded with what proved to be the game-winning score on a seven-play, 78-yard drive capped by Gilbert's one-yard touchdown run with 8:44 left in the half to make it 17-3.
Texas maintained control into the third quarter, pushing the lead to 20-3 on Tucker's second field goal with 8:44 left. After two unsuccessful offensive possessions, Martinez gave way to 2009 starter Zac Lee at the controls.
Lee stepped in and led Nebraska on a 16-play, 83-yard drive, but the Longhorns kept NU out of the end zone, as the Huskers settled for a 28-yard field goal by Henery to narrow the margin to 20-6 heading into the fourth quarter.
In the final quarter, Lee again led the Huskers near the red zone but a series of miscues left Nebraska with 4th and 17 at the UT 38. However, Lee unleashed a strike down the middle to wide receiver Brandon Kinnie near the NU 5. Kinnie was unable to haul in what would have been a touchdown catch and the Longhorns took over.
Texas then moved into position to ice the game with a 50-yard field goal attempt, but instead chose to pooch punt out of field goal formation. Nebraska capitalized on the Longhorn call, as senior defensive back Eric Hagg fielded the punt and weaved 95 yards to paydirt for the longest punt return in Husker history.
Hagg's effort, which came on the first punt return of his career, gave the Huskers hope by narrowing the margin to 20-13 with 3:02 left in the game. Nebraska then attempted an on-side kick, which was cleanly fielded by Texas. The Longhorns then picked up two first downs, forcing NU to burn its final two timeouts. UT took a knee on two plays inside the NU 5 to end the game.
Nebraska's defense kept the Huskers within striking distance despite facing a short field for Texas on many occasions throughout the day. DeJon Gomes and P.J. Smith each notched 11 tackles, while Lavonte David added 10 stops.
The Blackshirts surrendered just 271 total yards to the Longhorns, including just 62 passing yards, as Gilbert completed just 4-of-16 attempts. But Gilbert rushed for 71 yards on 11 carries with two scores, while Cody Johnson added 73 yards on 11 totes. Tre' Newton pitched in 41 yards on 10 carries and Foswhitt Whittaker managed 28 yards on 11 carries. For the game, Texas produced 209 rushing yards on 46 carries.
Nebraska returns to Big 12 road action next Saturday when the Huskers clash with the Oklahoma State. Kickoff between the Huskers and Cowboys will be at either 2:30 p.m. or 7 p.m. with an ABC telecast.
Final: Texas 20, #5 Nebraska 13
Saturday, Oct. 16, 2010
Memorial Stadium (Lincoln, Neb.)
First Quarter (UT, 10-0)
UT - 10:17 - Justin Tucker 27 field goal - 8 plays, 37 yards, 3:15, UT 3-0
UT - 8:06 - Garrett Gilbert 3 run - 5 plays, 21 yards, 1:52, UT 10-0
Second Quarter (UT, 17-3)
NU - 14:09 - Alex Henery 45 field goal - 12 plays, 54 yards, 4:56, UT 10-3
UT - 8:44 - Gilbert 1 run - 7 plays, 78 yards, 2:32, UT 17-3
Third Quarter (UT, 20-6)
UT - 8:52 - Tucker 28 field goal - 4 plays, 21 yards, 1:32, UT 20-3
NU - 0:27 - Henery 28 field goal - 16 plays, 83 yards, 5:47, UT 20-6
Fourth Quarter (UT, 20-13)
NU - 3:02 - Eric Hagg 95 punt return (Henery kick), UT 20-13
Final: Texas 20, #5 Nebraska 13
Time of Game: 3:16