College Station, Texas - The Blackshirts produced a strong performance, but No. 18 Texas A&M managed one more field goal than the No. 9 Nebraska could muster in the Huskers' 9-6 loss at Kyle Field on Saturday night.
With the loss, Nebraska slipped to 9-2 overall and 5-2 in the Big 12, while maintaining the edge in the Big 12 North Division race. Texas A&M improved to 8-3 overall and 5-2 in the Big 12 South with the victory.
In a near statistical dead heat, Nebraska produced 306 yards of total offense, including 164 (17-28-2) passing and 142 rushing yards on 37 carries. Texas A&M managed 310 yards, including 172 through the air (19-29-0) and 138 yards on the ground. NU held a time of possession edge of 31:13-28:47, while A&M ran 70 offensive plays, compared to 65 for the Huskers.
Neither team found the end zone on Saturday night, as Alex Henery kicked a pair of field goals for the Huskers. The Lou Groza Award candidate booted a 48-yard field goal with 8:53 left in the first quarter to give Nebraska a 3-0 lead.
Randy Bullock answered with a 29-yard field goal with 9:08 left in the second quarter to send the two teams to the locker room tied at the half.
After a scoreless third quarter, Bullock gave the Aggies their first lead with a 28-yard field goal with 14:33 left in the game, before Henery tied the score (6-6) with a 29-yard boot with 8:31 remaining.
However, the Aggies were able to answer with a 19-yard Bullock field goal with 3:02 left to secure the winning margin.
Texas A&M's winning drive was extended by a roughing the passer penalty on Husker safety Courtney Osborne. On 3rd-and-11, Osborne came off the edge on a blitz and hit A&M quarterback Ryan Tannehill with his right shoulder in the stomach as Tannehill threw the ball incomplete in the direction of Kenric McNeal.
Instead of 4th-and-11 at the NU 49, A&M moved on the edge of field goal range with a 1st-and-10 at the NU 34. Cyrus Gray covered 32 yards on five consecutive runs for the Aggies until the Blackshirts forced a 4th-and-Goal at the NU 2.
Osborne's penalty was the 15th of a school-record 16 called on the Huskers on Saturday night in an ABC primetime telecast in front of a school-record 90,079 fans at Kyle Field. NU's 16 penalties forced 145 yards to be marched off against the Huskers - the highest total in school history. Texas A&M was flagged for just two penalties for 10 yards. The 14-penalty and 135-yard penalty margins were the largest in a Nebraska game in the history of the Big 12 Conference.
The penalties hurt the Huskers from start to finish. On the game's opening drive Nebraska drove to the A&M 21. On 3rd-and-12, Taylor Martinez connected with Rex Burkhead on a 10-yard pass play to move to the A&M 11, but on the play the Huskers were whistled for a personal foul to push the ball back to the A&M 26 on 4th-and-17. A Husker false start then moved it back to A&M 31, forcing the 48-yard field goal by Henery.
Later in the opening quarter, after Martinez had left the game with an ankle injury after having his leg stepped on by a Husker offensive lineman, quarterback Cody Green fumbled on 2nd-and-10, as NU had worked its way into Texas A&M territory. The fumble was recovered by tight end Ben Cotton to save the possession for the Huskers, but Cotton was flagged for a pair of personal fouls on the same play, turning a 3rd-and-14 into a 3rd-and-44 at the NU 21.
In the second quarter, after the Aggies tied the score, the Huskers were flagged for a personal foul on the ensuing kickoff return to pin NU at its own 13. It was NU's fourth personal foul in the game's first 21 minutes.
The Huskers were flagged for a pair of offensive holding penalties the rest of the first half, sending NU to the locker room with eight penalties for 88 yards. A&M had one penalty for five yards.
In the first half, Nebraska completed 10-of-16 passes for 100 yards and added 53 yards on 21 carries to end the half with 153 total yards. The Huskers also maintained possession for 18:37. The Aggies mustered just 59 yards on 7-of-14 passing, while managing 44 rushing yards. NU carried 50 more total yards than A&M, but the Aggies had an 83-yard advantage in penalties.
In the second half, Nebraska stopped Texas A&M on its opening drive, but NU's first second-half drive was hindered by a false start penalty, forcing a punt. The Huskers' next drive included an illegal formation penalty, before ultimately ending with Trent Hunter's interception of a deep Martinez pass.
The interception involved Texas A&M's only other penalty of the game, a personal foul after the inerception, which pinned the Aggies at their own 5 to start the drive. However, A&M was able to overcome the poor field position, driving to the NU 11, thanks in part to two pass interference penalties on the Huskers - the second coming on a 3rd-and-8 at the A&M 35.
By the end of the third quarter, Texas A&M had taken over the total offense lead, 257-213, and held a 105-yard advantage in penalty margin.
Following Bullock's second field goal to give A&M its first lead at 6-3 with 14:33 left in the game, Nebraska was flagged for another personal foul - its fifth of the game - on the ensuing kickoff - which resulted in a touchback. The Huskers were also hit with an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty moving the drive start to the NU 5.
But Rex Burkhead sparked the Big Red with a 33-yard burst on the first play from scrimmage. Burkhead carried the ball five straight times to open the drive, covering 54 yards, moving NU to the Texas A&M 41. The Huskers got another big play later in the drive, when Martinez hooked up with Niles Paul on a 24-yard pass to convert a 3rd-and-8 at the A&M 39 and move the Huskers into field goal range. The Aggie defense held at the 12, and Henery knocked the tying field goal through from 29 yards out with 8:31 to play.
The Aggies picked up a pair of quick first downs on the ensuing drive, before Lavonte David and Eric Hagg came up with big stops on successive plays to force 3rd-and-11 for A&M at the NU 49.
Osborne's blitz came and Tannehill's pass intended for Kenric McNeal fell incomplete, but a roughing the passer was called to extend the drive.
Nebraska concludes the 2010 regular season with its final Friday after Thanksgiving clash with Colorado. Kickoff between the Huskers and Buffaloes at Memorial Stadium in Lincoln is set for Friday, Nov. 26 at 2:30 p.m. The game will be televised by ABC.
Final: #18 Texas A&M 9, #9 Nebraska 6
Saturday, Nov. 20, 2010
Kyle Field (College Station, Texas)
First Quarter (NU, 3-0)
NU - 8:53 - Alex Henery 48 field goal - 12 plays, 49 yards, 6:07, NU 3-0
Second Quarter (3-3)
A&M - 9:08 - Randy Bullock 29 field goal - 9 plays, 62 yards, 3:00, 3-3
Third Quarter (3-3)
Fourth Quarter (A&M, 9-6)
A&M - 14:33 - Bullock 28 field goal - 15 plays, 79 yards, 5:21, A&M 6-3
NU - 8:31 - Henery 29 field goal - 12 plays, 83 yards, 6:02, 6-6
A&M - 3:02 - Bullock field goal - 12 plays, 68 yards, 5:29, A&M 9-6
Final: #18 Texas A&M 9, #9 Nebraska 6
Time of Game: 3:05