Aggies win battle of doomed coaches

LINCOLN, Neb. -- This was no way to impress the new boss.

Days after Tom Osborne took charge of Nebraska football, coach Bill Callahan's Cornhuskers were blown out for the third consecutive week, this time by Texas A&M.

Using a triple-option offense reminiscent of the one Osborne employed during his Hall-of-Fame coaching career, the Aggies ran over Nebraska 36-14 on Saturday.

Stephen McGee set career highs with 35 carries for 167 yards and Jorvorskie Lane rushed for 130 yards and four touchdowns for the Aggies (6-2, 3-1 Big 12).

The Huskers (4-4, 1-3) have been outscored 122-34 during their three-game losing streak to Missouri, Oklahoma State and A&M. It's the third three-game losing streak in four seasons under coach Callahan, who had the heat ratcheted up on him after athletic director Steve Pederson was fired this week.

"Obviously, we're hurting again," Callahan said. "It's a very tough ballgame to swallow."

Osborne, who will wait until the end of the season to decide whether Callahan stays or goes, told the players in the locker room that he thought they played hard. The difference in the game, Osborne said, was that the Huskers were minus-three on turnovers.

"When you have turnovers like that, it gives you the impression that it's worse than it was," Osborne said. "The effort was better. I actually was encouraged."

Many in the crowd of 84,473 wore T-shirts commemorating Osborne's return to the athletic department, 10 years after finishing his Hall-of-Fame coaching career. The shirts read: "T.O. Tradition. Order."

Texas A&M won for the first time in six visits to Lincoln since 1955 and spoiled what Huskers fans hopes would be a day of celebration.

The Aggies, blown out by Miami and Texas Tech in their two previous road games, responded after Nebraska (4-4, 1-3) pulled within two points and at least temporarily took some heat off their embattled coach, Dennis Franchione.

After carrying a heavy workload, McGee needed assistance walking off the field at the end of the game. He also required intravenous fluids after setting a school record for number of carries by a quarterback.

"I'm definitely sore right now. I need some rest," McGee said. "There's no better feeling than you give it your all and come off that field victorious."

Lane said, "The only advice I can give (McGee) is drink a lot of water and get a lot of sleep."

A&M opened the third quarter with two 80-yard touchdown drives, with Lane finishing both for a 30-14 lead. Then its defense held the Huskers scoreless after they drove inside the 10-yard line.

McGee did a pretty good impersonation of Nebraska 1997 national champion quarterback Scott Frost.

Nebraska's linebackers bit hard on fake handoffs to Lane, allowing McGee to pick up big chunks of yardage.

"They didn't have an answer for it all day," McGee said.

McGee ran seven consecutive times on the Aggies' first series of the second half.

"When they can't stop something," Franchione said, "you're going to make them do it until their nose bleeds."

Lane was the change-up on the eighth play, breaking off a career-long 31-yard run before scoring from the 2.

"I could have driven my car through the holes I was given,' Lane said.

The Huskers were in position to get back in the game with the score 30-14. On third-and-goal from the 6, Sam Keller didn't spot Todd Peterson open in the back of the end zone and was thrown for a 3-yard loss. Keller's fourth-down pass was tipped away.

Lane's 1-yard run late in the fourth finished the scoring.

McGee completed 13 of 22 passes for 100 yards and a touchdown. Keller was 26-of-44 for 275 yards, with Marlon Lucky catching 13 for 125 yards.

Nebraska had pulled to within 16-14 late in the second quarter after driving 79 yards in nine plays, scoring on Keller's 10-yard pass to Purify.

Callahan invited offensive coordinator Shawn Watson to come down from the press box and join him on the sidelines. The two shared play-calling duties, and Callahan spent additional time working with the defense.

Osborne, who attended two practices this week and met with Callahan twice, said he did not suggest the change.

"I'm not telling anyone how to coach. That's their province," Osborne said. "I'll do anything I can to help them."


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