GAME DAY PREVIEW Game time: 3:30pm ET |
Texas at Nebraska
SAN ANTONIO (Ticker) -- With its hopes to reach the national title game all but gone, No. 3 Nebraska can at least make things interesting and exorcise its demons against nemesis and 12th-ranked Texas in the Big 12 Conference title game in the Alamodome.
Odds are Nebraska (10-1, 7-1 Big 12) would have been ahead of Virginia Tech in the Bowl Championship Series rankings if it had been able to beat Texas in Austin on October 23. Even with that 24-20 loss, the Cornhuskers have pushed Virginia Tech to the limit, but it appears with one game remaining -- and none for the Hokies -- that the deficit is too much to make up.
The loss to the Longhorns (9-3, 6-2) might have kept Nebraska from the Sugar Bowl, but it did not keep the Huskers from getting another shot at Texas, which has won the last three games between the schools.
The series is tied, 3-3, but Nebraska has not beaten Texas since recording a 19-3 triumph in 1974.
Major Applewhite shook off a poor opening 30 minutes to complete 8-of-9 passes for 166 yards and two touchdowns in the second half as Texas knocked third-ranked Nebraska from the ranks of the unbeaten. No team had beaten Nebraska three straight times in a row since Florida State did it four times between 1987-1993.
Eric Crouch threw for a career-high 204 yards in the loss. He and the Cornhuskers will have an in-season rematch for the first time since the 1979 Orange Bowl, when they met Big Eight rival Oklahoma. Texas has not met the same team twice in a season since 1909 against Texas A&M.
The first time the Cornhuskers lost to Texas, it was a 37-27 shocker in the first Big 12 championship game in 1996. Nebraska beat Texas A&M, 54-15, in the 1997 game and Texas A&M won a 36-33 overtime thriller against previously unbeaten Kansas State in last year's contest.
Since the Sugar Bowl appears set, the winner of this game appears headed to the Fiesta Bowl, likely to meet defending national champion Tennessee.
Nebraska barely kept its spot in the title game last weekend. The Cornhuskers blew a 27-3 lead by allowing 24 points in the fourth quarter and on the final play of regulation got a reprieve when Colorado kicker Jeremy Aldrich missed a 34-yard field goal. Aldrich connected in overtime, but Crouch dove in from a yard out to give the Cornhuskers a 33-30 triumph.
Had Nebraska lost, it would have given Kansas State the North division.
Texas is coming off an emotional 20-16 loss at Texas A&M, falling to an inspired team that was playing with heavy hearts after a campus tragedy claimed 12 lives only eight days before.
Highly touted true freshman Chris Simms started for the Longhorns as Applewhite came down with a stomach virus. Applewhite eventually entered the game, but could not help Texas.
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'Huskers remember 'Horns well