Huskers find mis-match, 28-27 victory at Kyle Field
Published: Monday, November 13, 2006
Updated: Wednesday, July 25, 2012 21:07
In an ending similar to Texas A&M's loss to Texas Tech six weeks ago, Nebraska quarterback Zac Taylor found receiver Maurice Purify in single coverage by A&M cornerback Jordan Peterson, and threw a game-winning touchdown pass for a 28-27 victory.
"I knew he had a mismatch over there," Taylor said. "So I told coach 'Let's just throw to Purify again' and he went up and made a play."
Against Texas Tech, the Aggies allowed the Red Raiders to score on a Peterson-covered pass with 26 seconds left after gaining possession with just over 2 minutes on the clock. Peterson was once again stride-for-stride with his man, but the size difference was too great to overcome.
"He's (Purify) 6-feet-4-inches and I'm 5'10," Peterson said. "That's why they went with that play."
The Cornhuskers threw to Purify on the previous play and Peterson prevented a catch, but Taylor saw the mismatch and told Nebraska head coach Bill Callahan he wanted to try it again. Callahan said it was a play the offense has consistently run in the red zone during two-minute drills.
"I think I have an advantage over everybody," Purify said. "Because I've got my vertical and I've got my size."
A&M linebacker Mark Dodge intercepted Taylor with less than 3 minutes remaining to seemingly clinch the game. But Nebraska stopped the A&M offense on three plays and blocked a field goal to gain back possession.
"I knew we would have to go back out no matter what the circumstances were," Dodge said. "The time would give us one more series, so we would have to go out and finish it."
Prior to Nebraska's late drive, A&M had allowed 72 yards in the second half, after giving up 243 yards in the first two quarters. Nebraska's 21 points were also scored in the first half.
"We know how to finish; we just have to do it," said defensive end Chris Harrington. "The circumstances in the past two weeks have been there and we came up a little short."
Saturday's game was A&M's second consecutive one-point loss after losing 17-16 to Oklahoma a week ago. The Aggies have also won close games in a similar fashion earlier in the season against Kansas and Oklahoma State, but A&M head coach Dennis Franchione said he wished his team could win all of them.
"We've just got to get a little better," Franchione said. "We have to coach a little better and play a little better; 17-16, 28-27 and the Tech game on the last play. You remember these, that we weren't able to get it done."
As for Nebraska, the win clinches a spot in the Big 12 Championship game to represent the North division. It will be the Cornhuskers' first appearance in the title game since 1999.
"That's what championship teams are all about, coming back from behind to win the game," Callahan said.