One of the top matchups for this upcoming week 12 of the 2010 college football season is the number 9-ranked Nebraska Cornhuskers (9-1, 5-1 in the Big 12) traveling to College Station, TX to take on the number 18-ranked Texas A&M Aggies (7-3, 4-2) in a Big 12 match up this Saturday night (8pm ET). The Aggies come in red-hot having won four straight games in which they scored an average of 41.25 points per game, including a 42-30 win over Baylor last week. Nebraska comes into the contest equally hot on defense, coming off their best performance on that side of the ball this decade in a 2-3 win over Kansas last week in which they allowed 87 yards TOTAL to the Jayhawks, and only 15 yards passing. Nebraska wins to win one of its final two games to capture the Big 12 North title, while A&M needs a win here to have a chance to claim the Big 12 South.
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Since Texas A&M made the switch at quarterback to Ryan Tannehill from pre-season Offensive Player of the Year Jarrod Johnson four games ago, the offense has averaged 488.3 yards per game (YPG) and 312 YPG passing. Tannehill has torched Big 12 defenses for 10 touchdown passes during that stretch. The opponents have included the 118th, 75th and 108th rated pass defenses in the country the last three weeks, Nebraska in stark contrast ranks 6th in total yards allowed per game with 292.9 and 2nd in passing yards per game allowed with 140.2. Tannehill will need to avoid turning the ball over to a ball-hawking secondary that is led by Alfonzo Dennard with 4 interceptions.
On offense the Cornhusker attack is led by quarterback Taylor Martinez who has passed for 1,328 yards and 9 touchdowns on the season while averaging 7.8 YPC on the ground with 957 yards rushing and 12 touchdowns. Roy Helu and Rex Burkhead, who combined for 162 yards rushing against Kansas last week, round out the Cornhusker rushing attack. Texas A&M has been tough to run on all season, and ranks 13th in the nation in rushing defense with 112.2 YPG allowed. They are coming off of a particularly bad day last week against Baylor however, giving up 291 yards rushing after coming into the contest only allowing 92.3 YPG rushing. This will be a key matchup to watch in the game, can the Aggie run defense return to form? Or will Nebraska run roughshod over Texas A&M?
The under is 10-4 in Nebraska’s last 14 games on grass, and the over is 18-7-1 in Texas A&M’s last 26 Big 12 games. Texas A&M is 7-3-1 ATS in their last 11 home games. Nebraska has won 4 out of the last 5 meetings between the two teams, including their last trip to College Station in 2006 by a score of 28-27.
Nebraska vs. Texas A&M Spread, Line and Betting Odds:
Nebraska Cornhuskers -2.5
@ Texas A&M Aggies +2.5
Over 55 (-110)
Under 55 (-110)
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Nebraska vs. Texas A&M Predictions for Week 12 Game:
Spread Prediction (Top Play) – Nebraska is a strong road favorite here with their pass defense and running game matching up very favorably with A&M. Look for Tannehill to struggle against the first big-time pass defense he has faced and for his numbers to fall far short of what they have been during the four-game Aggie winning streak. Nebraska has generally been able to run the ball against anyone, but the Aggies meltdown last week against Baylor defending the run should be an ominous sign for their chances of stopping a healthy Taylor Martinez and Co. on the ground this week.
Over/Under Prediction – Take the under here, Texas A&M has been lights-out on offense the last 4 games, but that will come to and end here against a Nebraska defense that simply does not give up big plays in the passing game and is capable of forcing turnovers against any QB, especially a relatively inexperienced one. Nebraska has been less explosive on offense recently and the still tough A&M defense will keep the Aggies in the game. Expect Nebraska to grind it out on offense and shut down Texas A&M on defense.