Primetime College Football: Huskers vs Longhorns
Mack Brown’s Longhorns look to claim their first conference title in four years when they face Nebraska on in the Big 12 Championship game at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
The last time Texas (12-0, 8-0) played for a Big 12 title, it pounded Colorado 70-3 in 2005. Behind the play of quarterback Vince Young, the Longhorns then upset top-ranked Southern California 41-38 in the BCS title game.
Four years later, the Big 12 South champs again have a chance to head to Pasadena for a shot at the BCS title, but first must record a fifth straight victory over North champion Nebraska (9-3, 6-2).
Colt McCoy’s Heisman Trophy resume got a little more impressive after he passed for 304 yards and ran for a career-high 175 on 18 carries against the Aggies in a 49-39 on the road game on Thanksgiving night. McCoy has passed for 1,791 yards and 18 touchdowns with two interceptions in his last five contests. His 3,328 total passing yards this season ranks fourth in Texas history.
While McCoy has thrown for 401 yards with two touchdowns and an interception in a pair of wins over Nebraska will face a stiff challenge versus a Cornhuskers’ defense that’s allowing a league low 11.1 points per contest.
Opponents are scoring a mere 15 ppg against Texas while gaining just 263.2 total ypg. Roddrick Muckelroy continues to pace the Horns with 87 total tackles, and he has made 10 tackles for loss. As for Earl Thomas has recorded eight interceptions while placing second on the roster in stops.
Though Nebraska ranks 11th in total offense 334.7 yards per game, the Cornhuskers are averaging 25.6 points per game and have won five in a row heading into this contest. Junior Roy Helu has paced the Cornhuskers, rushing for 1,111 yards and 10 touchdowns. Talented freshman Rex Burkhead ran for a career-high 100 yards and a TD on 18 carries in a 28-20 win at Colorado last Friday. As for quarterback Zac Lee, he has completed 60.8 percent of his passes for 1,931 yards and 13 touchdowns against seven interceptions. Nebraska lacks a standout wide receiver, a major reason that the offense is so average.
Pelini is a defensive-minded coach, and he has made a huge impact on the Huskers who lead the Big 12 in scoring defense, allowing a mere 11.1 ppg. They are allowing only 101.9 rushing yards per game at a clip of 3.0 yards per carry, and just six rushing scores have been surrendered in 12 outings. As for the pass defense, Nebraska has recorded 16 interceptions versus only seven touchdowns allowed.
Ndamukong Suh is a standout defensive lineman for Nebraska who has recorded 7.5 sacks this season, despite the fact that he is constantly forced to fight through multiple blockers. Suh gets plenty of help from Jared Crick, who has nine sacks to his credit.
Two years after finishing 5-7 in Bill Callahan’s final season as coach, Pelini has guided Nebraska to consecutive nine-win seasons and an upset away from earning its first league title since last beating Texas 22-6 in the 1999 Big 12 championship game.
This is the first meeting between the teams since the Longhorns won 28-25 at home Oct. 27, 2007.
PICK: University of Texas Longhorns