Lincoln - Marlon Lucky broke his own Nebraska running back record by hauling in 13 receptions for 125 yards, but it was not enough to offset a powerful Texas A&M running game, as the Huskers fell to the Aggies, 36-14, at Memorial Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
Playing in front of an NCAA-record 288th consecutive sellout at Memorial Stadium on a perfect day for football, the Huskers trailed 16-14 at the half, before Texas A&M took control of the game in the third quarter.
Nebraska, which slipped to 4-4 overall and 1-3 in the Big 12 with the loss, watched Texas A&M produce three long scoring drives to consume most of the second-half clock. The Aggies, who improved to 6-2 overall and 3-1 in the conference, scored on drives of 80, 80 and 76 yards in the second half, eating up 15:40 on 34 plays on those drives.
Texas A&M's Jorvorskie Lane capped all three drives with short touchdown runs, as he finished the day with 15 carries for 130 yards and four scores. Lane wasn't the only Aggie to put up big numbers on the ground. A&M quarterback Stephen McGee carried a career-high 35 times for 167 yards.
As a team, the Aggies rushed for 344 yards, while adding 100 yards through the air to finish the day with 444 yards of total offense. The Huskers also amassed more than 400 yards of total offense, led by Sam Keller's 275 passing yards. NU added 130 yards on the ground, including 60 yards and one touchdown on just nine carries from freshman I-back Quentin Castille.
Although the total offense numbers were similar, Nebraska was victimized by three fumbles, while Texas A&M did not commit a turnover on the afternoon.
Texas A&M struck first, as McGee capped the Aggies' first drive with a two-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Earvin Taylor with 9:17 left in the opening quarter. However, Ndamukong Suh blocked Matt Szymanski's extra-point attempt and Nebraska's offense provided an answer to the Aggies' first score.
The Huskers marched 80 yards on their second drive of the day, capped by Castille's three-yard touchdown run with 6:32 left in the first quarter. Alex Henery's extra point gave NU a 7-6 lead.
A&M regained the lead on its second drive on a 39-yard Szymanski field goal with 1:35 remaining in the opening quarter, after the Aggies marched 59 yards on 17 plays. Texas A&M had driven to the NU 6, before linebacker Corey McKeon nearly picked off a McGee pass in the end zone. On the following play, the Aggies were called for offensive pass interference to push the ball back to the NU 21. The Huskers stopped A&M's hopes for a touchdown as Barry Turner pressured McGee into a dangerous pass across the field that fell incomplete.
In the second quarter, Nebraska's defense continued to play well, despite battling to overcome a fumble by the Husker offense and a muffed punt by the NU special teams. Although the Blackshirts squelched an Aggie drive following a Castille fumble near midfield, A&M cashed in with a touchdown after Nate Swift mishandled a punt to give the Aggies possession at the NU 28. Lane rumbled 27 yards to the NU 1, before barreling into the end zone on the next play to give A&M a 16-7 lead with 10:38 left in the half.
Nebraska responded later in the quarter, as Keller hit Maurice Purify with a 10-yard touchdown pass to cap a nine-play, 79-yard drive to pull the Huskers within 16-14 with 2:26 left in the half.
After the NU score, the Blackshirts continued to gain confidence, quickly shutting down A&M's next drive to force a punt with one minute left in the half. Keller and the NU offense went to work to move within field goal range. The Huskers, who started at their own 20, ended the half at the A&M 38 after a spectacular catch and 20-yard gain by Lucky.
Although NU ran out of time in the first half, Lucky's final catch capped a tremendous first half by the junior I-back from North Hollywood, Calif. Lucky hauled in eight catches for 88 yards and added seven carries for 21 yards in the opening half.
Lucky's productive first half helped NU roll up 284 total yards in the half, while the Blackshirts contained A&M's offense for 210 yards. Nebraska's first-half offensive balance included 178 passing yards and 106 yards on 18 carries on the ground. The Aggies pounded their way for 152 yards on 30 carries, but managed just 58 yards through the air.
But in the second half, it was all Aggies. Lane capped a nine-play, 80-yard opening drive with a two-yard scoring run to put A&M up 23-14 with 11:05 left in the third. After the Aggie defense held the Huskers on their opening possession, Lane capped an 11-play, 80-yard drive with a four-yard run to put A&M up 30-14 with 4:29 left in the quarter.
Lane then closed the scoring late in the fourth quarter with his second one-yard touchdown run of the day, putting the exclamation point on a 14-play, 76-yard drive that chewed up 7:09 on the clock.
The Huskers leave Lincoln for the first of back-to-back road games next week, when they clash with the Texas Longhorns on Saturday, Oct. 27. Kickoff in Austin is set for 2:30 p.m. with live regional television coverage provided by ABC.
Scoring (Texas A&M 36, Nebraska 14)
Saturday, Oct. 20, 2007
Memorial Stadium (Lincoln, Neb.)
First Quarter (Texas A&M 9, Nebraska 7)
A&M - Earvin Taylor 1 pass from Stephen McGee (Matt Szymanski kick blocked by Ndamukong Suh), 9:17
NU - Quentin Castille 3 run (Alex Henery kick), 6:32
A&M - Szymanski 39 field goal, 1:35
Second Quarter (Texas A&M 16, Nebraska 14)
A&M - Jorvoskie Lane 1 run (Szymanski kick), 10:38
NU - Maurice Purify 10 pass from Sam Keller (Henery kick), 2:26
Third Quarter (Texas A&M 30, Nebraska 14)
A&M - Lane 3 run (Szymanski kick), 11:05
A&M - Lane 4 run (Szymanski kick), 4:29
Fourth Quarter (Texas A&M 36, Nebraska 14)
A&M - Lane 1 run (2PAT failed), 4:32
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