Nebraska Cornhuskers vs. Texas AM Aggies Betting Odds and Pick

No. 9 Nebraska Cornhuskers (9-1, 4-6 ATS) at No. 18 Texas A&M Aggies (7-3, 6-4 ATS), Week 12 College Football, Saturday November 20th, 8:00PM Eastern Kyle Field College Station, T.X.
By Jay Horne, Professional Sports Handicapper of

Betting Odds: Neb -3/Texas A&M +3
Over/Under Total: OFF

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The no. 18 Texas A&M Aggies have been one of the big surprises in the Big 12 this season and that became evident just two weeks ago when they dominated then no. 8 Oklahoma in a 33-19 victory. The Texas A&M Aggies started the season with an average 3-3 record. However, the Aggies then found life in backup QB Ryan Tannehill. Not only did Tannehill revive an inconsistent offense, but he has also steered the Aggies to four straight victories. The Aggies currently have one of the hottest offenses in the Big 12 and they look to keep the momentum rolling when they welcome another top 10 foe in the Nebraska Cornhuskers into College Station this Saturday.

The Cornhuskers have had a brilliant season with a 9-1 record on the year. If not for a 20-13 loss to Texas earlier this year, the Cornhuskers would be in the thick of the National Championship race. The Cornhuskers defense which has led the team this season remained dominate last week by shutting down the Kansas offense in rout to a 20-3 victory. The win moved the Cornhuskers to a 5-1 mark in conference play and they can clinch their spot in the Big 12 Championship Game with a win over the Aggies this weekend. The defense as previously mentioned has just been rock solid ranking 6th overall in the nation allowing just 292 yards per game. The Cornhuskers defense will meet a revitalized Aggies offense that currently ranks 12th in overall offense. Therefore, it will be interesting to see whether it will be the Nebraska defense or the Aggies offense that continues to strive.

Over the last 4 games in which Tannehill has taken over behind center, the Aggies are averaging 41 points per game during that stretch. The passing offense ranks 8th in America averaging 308 yards per game through the air. The passing arsenal is equipped with weapons on both ends of the field in wide outs Jeff Fuller and Ryan Swope. Fuller leads the team with 61 catches, 923 yards, and 11 scores. The Aggies leading receiver was banged up in the Oklahoma victory two weeks ago and was not up to 100% last week against Baylor as he compiled just 3 catches for 37 yards. The offense did not really rack up a ton of yards through the air last week and that could be contributed to their limited weapons with Fuller not at 100%. Swope has caught 61 passes this season for 711 yards and 4 scores. Swope can definitely make plays and has carried the offense at times as well, but the offense is much more dangerous when both receivers are making plays together in the opposing secondary.

However, the man throwing those guys the football has been the biggest difference in the Aggies success in recent weeks. Tannehill took over for Jerrod Johnson who was struggling with consistency issues throwing the football. In his 4 games under center, Tannehill has thrown for 1,105 yards, 10 touchdowns, and just 3 interceptions while completing nearly 70% of his passes. The Aggies have gotten the consistency they needed in the passing department and have proved they have the weapons to rack up points. However, this will be the game that gives Tannehill the true test of strength. Nebraska ranks 2nd in pass defense allowing just 140 yards per game and first in defensive pass efficiency. Not only do they have one of the best pass defenses in the country, but they also do a very good job at getting pressure on the quarterbacks and averaging over 2 sacks per game. Therefore, the Aggies will need Tannehill to keep his composure and avoid any dreadful turnovers that plagued the team earlier this season.

Even though the Cornhuskers have the defensive reputation, they still have a very effective offense as well. The Nebraska rushing offense ranks 7th in the country averaging 282 yards per game on the ground and the offense has racked up 35 points on average for the season. Both QB Taylor Martinez and running back Roy Helu Jr. are perhaps just a game away from breaking down the 1,000 yard barrier. Helu Jr leads the team with 991 yards averaging 7.0 yards per carry. Martinez has 957 yards while averaging 7.8 yards per carry. Sophomore tailback Rex Burkhead also contributes to the triple option rushing attack and has posted 647 yards and 6 touchdowns on the season. To emphasize the strength of the rushing attack, the Cornhuskers are averaging a lucrative 6.2 yards per carry as a team. They have simply been able to run the football when and where they have wanted all season.

Martinez has not exactly been much of a passing quarterback due to the success the Cornhuskers have experienced on the ground. Martinez has only attempted 146 passes on the season while completing 56% for 1,328 yards, 9 touchdowns, and 4 picks. WR Niles Paul is the biggest threat in the passing game with 35 catches for 463 yards. However, the Cornhuskers are not likely going to win this football game through the air but rather by sticking with their strength on the ground and doing what they do best by controlling the pace of the game. Therefore, the Aggies defense will be forced to stop the run to slow down the Nebraska offense. So far this season Texas A&M is only giving up 112 yards per game on average meaning they have been really strong against the run. However, this will definitely be the Aggies biggest defensive test to date at least against the run. If the Aggies can find a way to slow down the Cornhuskers offense on the ground, maybe Tannehill can manufacture enough points on the offensive side of the football to capture Texas A&M’s 5th straight victory.

Jay’s pick to cover the point spread: Aggies have played very well at home and think they match-up well. I’m expecting the upset. Take Texas A&M.