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LANE HICKENBOTTOM/Lincoln Journal Star
Freshman I-back David Horne breaks into the open on a third-quarter touchdown run to cut Texas A&M’s lead to 31-21. Horne rushed for 128 yards and four touchdowns.
Big Red is not Dead

Nebraska puts it all together in the second half and runs roughshod over Texas A&M’s Wrecking Crew defense to come back for a win that ends a five-game road losing streak.

COLLEGE STATION, Texas -- During its five-game road losing skid, Nebraska had often played like a team in a fog.

Saturday night, the Huskers emerged from the fog, literally, with a 38-31 win against Texas A&M before a stunned crowd of 81,054 at Kyle Field.

Nebraska overcame a 17-point second-half deficit with 24 unanswered points to earn its first road win since beating Kansas 51-7 last Nov. 3.

The manner in which the Huskers prevailed Saturday was startling. They bullied the Aggies' reknowned "Wrecking Crew" defense for 381 rushing yards, the most anyone's gained on the ground against A&M in 32 years.

"This win says our ballplayers have great heart," said Nebraska Coach Frank Solich, whose team improved to 6-3 overall and 2-2 in the Big 12. "They believed in one another. They've come through some tough times and hung in there."

Said Husker offensive line coach Milt Tenopir: "The kids came back and did what they had to do tonight, and it wasn't anything fancy."

After the game, hundreds of jubilant Nebraska fans tried to storm the field, a no-no in College Station, where the Kyle Field's grass is considered sacred ground. At least one female Husker fan was tackled by a security guard.

You could understand Nebraska's euphoria. After all, the Huskers had been beaten handily in road games at Penn State and Iowa State, setbacks that sent them tumbling from the national rankings.

Then came last week's road loss to an ordinary Oklahoma State team.

And now this.

Nebraska was led by quarterback Jammal Lord, who overcame a case of fumbleitis to rush for 159 yards on 30 carries, a school-record number of single-game attempts for a QB.

Freshman I-back David Horne rushed 24 times for 128 yards and four touchdowns, giving Nebraska the lead for good at 35-31 with his 6-yard scoring run with 11 minutes remaining.

Josh Brown's 42-yard field goal with 5:59 left pushed Nebraska's lead to 38-31.

A&M still had life, driving to Nebraska's 9-yard line. But with 2:23 left, Husker free safety Philip Bland intercepted Dustin Long's pass in the end zone.

Nebraska was able to run out the clock as Davies rattled off a 10-yard run followed by rushes of 9 and 11 yards by Lord.

About 4,000 Nebraska fans chanted "Go Big Red" as the clock ticked down. The scene was in stark contrast to recent road defeats, which tarnished the reputation of a traditional national power.

"We're going to savor this feeling, so the kids will remember how they got here," said Tenopir, whose embattled line pushed around an A&M defense that entered the night allowing only 76.9 rushing yards per game.

"This is a good win, but we're going to put it behind us, because we have a tough schedule ahead of us," said Solich, referring specifically to next week's home game against Texas.

Nebraska overcame bugaboos that had been costly in recent losses. The Huskers were penalized seven times for 65 yards, and Lord fumbled twice, with one being returned for a 66-yard touchdown that gave A&M a 31-14 lead with 7:43 left in the third quarter.

A&M, now 5-3 and 2-2 in the conference, had gone up 24-14 on Todd Pegram's 33-yard field goal that capped a 64-yard drive to open the second half.

The march must have been disheartening for a Nebraska defense that, in its three losses this season, had allowed opponents to open the second half with a sustained scoring drive.

There was more disheartening news to come. A&M defensive back Terrence Kiel's hit caused Lord to fumble, and Byron Jones grabbed the ball and rambled 66 yards for the score.

On the sideline, Husker quarterbacks coach Turner Gill patted Lord on the neck and offered words of encouragement.

Nebraska didn't quit, streaking 68 yards in only three plays. Diedrick had runs of 18 and 29 yards, and Horne scored on a 21-yard sprint off a fake reverse.

And the Huskers kept coming. Horne capped a 13-play, 81-yard drive with an 11-yard touchdown run to pull NU to 31-28. Lord rolled to his right and tossed a 30-yard strike to wideout Ross Pilkington to set up the score.

The bottom line is, Nebraska never quit.

"So many things happened in the second half," Solich said. "It was an unbelievable half of football."

A&M took a 21-14 lead into halftime when Long zipped a 2-yard touchdown pass to Greg Porter with :16 left in the second quarter. The TD capped a 12-play, 67-march highlighted by Terrence Murphy's 21-yard reception and Bethel Johnson's 17-yard run on a reverse handoff.

To the Nebraska defense's credit, it was A&M's only sustained scoring drive of the first half. To the Huskers' discredit, the Aggies' first two touchdowns were the direct result of NU errors.

A&M's first score occurred when Anthony Squillante, a walk-on for the Aggies' heralded 12th-man program, blocked Kyle Larson's punt. Terrence Thomas scooped up the pigskin near the A&M sideline and sprinted 12 yards for a touchdown with 2:25 left in the first quarter.

Another Nebraska mistake led to the second A&M touchdown. I-back Dahrran Diedrick mishandled Lord's pitch on an option play, and linebacker Jarrod Penright recovered the fumble at the Huskers' 6-yard line. Two plays later, Long tossed a 9-yard scoring pass to running back Joe Weber with :20 remaining in the period.

Nebraska, however, came back to tie it, 14-14, on Horne's 2-yard touchdown run with 7:45 left in the first half. The TD capped an eight-play, 43-yard drive highlighted by Lord's 28-yard pass to split end Wilson Thomas.

Nebraska's miscues late in the first quarter overshadowed a strong start that was somewhat surprising, given the Huskers' recent struggles in road games.

The Huskers drove 80 yards on eight plays for a touchdown on its opening possession. Lord had rushes of 9 and 12 yards before breaking free for a 41-yard sprint to A&M's 12 on an option right. Diedrick then powered up the middle for the score, ripping through three tacklers to paydirt.

The Huskers drove deep into A&M territory on their next possession, but Brown's 45-yard field-goal attempt was wide left.

Nebraska trailed at halftime despite racking up 202 yards compared to A&M's 146.

The Huskers finished with 497 total yards to A&M's 322.

"It's a great win," Solich said. "I think we're moving in the right direction."

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