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NU offense explodes against Aggies

Huskers have two 100-yard rushers against stingy Texas A&M defense

By Sean Callahan
For The Independent

COLLEGE STATION, Texas -- Everything going into Nebraska's game at Texas A&M said this wasn't supposed to happen.

The Aggies came in with the top rushing defense in the Big 12 Conference and had virtually shut down every running attack they've seen the last two years.

Virginia Tech, a team that features two All-America candidates at running back, was only able to salvage 129 yards on 48 carries when it came to College Station this season.

One can throw out all the numbers they want, but fact is the 38-31 Husker victory was a coming out party for the NU offense.

"They say you can't run the ball on these guys but we had to make it work," NU coach Frank Solich said of his team's overall offensive performance.

On the day junior quarterback Jammal Lord finished with 159 yards on 30 carries while running backs David Horne (128 yards) and Dahrran Diedrick (85 yards) complimented Lord by producing big games of their own.

Saturday marked the first time A&M has allowed any back to go for over 100 yards in 21 games. After such a dominating performance, all offensive line coach Milt Tenopir could talk about was the heart his team showed, even when down by 17 points.

"We ran the ball on them," Tenopir said. "We knew we could run the ball on them. They're a bunch of kids with a lot of heart that never say die. We were down 17 points in the third quarter, we came back, did what we had to do and really it wasn't anything fancy."

One minor change made going into today's game was running backs coach Dave Gillespie stood on the sidelines instead of his usual spot in the coaches box.

Gillespie said the change was last minute, but it allowed him to communicate with his backs easier and establish a better rotational system throughout the game.

"I tried to utilize their strengths under certain situations more," Gillespie said of his move to the sidelines Saturday.

As a whole, the Nebraska offense finished with 497 total yards on an Aggie defense that came in only allowing 285 yards a game, while the ground game finished with a road high 381 yards on 73 carries.

With Lord, Horne and Diedrick all clicking, Solich said this offense is capable of dominating opponents the way it did against the Aggies

"The way the game unfolded allowed us to get in to the power running game some," Solich said. "Against these guys on the surface you say you can't run at them, but today we felt we needed to establish that and needed to get something going on that end of it."

Horne and Diedrick combined for five touchdowns, with Horne scoring NU's final four.

Diedrick said the most satisfying thing was not only getting the win, but doing it in a manner that nobody thought could happen.

"At the end of the game they (A&M) were hurting," Diedrick said. "At the end of the game they just really couldn't take it. We just started pounding it away at them at the end and played Nebraska football today. It was great to get a win today and do it Nebraska style."

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