Texas Longhorns (3-2 SU, 1-3 ATS) at No. 4 Nebraska Cornhuskers (5-0 SU, 2-2-1 ATS), Week 7 College Football, Saturday October 16, 3:30 PM Eastern, Memorial Stadium (Field Turf), Lincoln Nebraska
By Jeff Hochman of JHSportsline.com
Betting Odds: Horns +8.5/Huskers -8.5
Over/Under Total: OFF
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Freshman quarterback sensation Taylor Martinez and the No. 4 Ranked Nebraska Cornhuskers return home, looking to stay undefeated against Big 12 conference rival Texas. Nebraska has won six straight games dating back to their 33-0 Bowl win last season over Arizona.
Last week, Martinez put on another clinic in the Cornhuskers 48-13 victory over Kansas State. He rushed for 241 yards, passed for another 128 and accounted for five total touchdowns. Martinez’s rushing total broke Jammal Lord’s Nebraska record for a quarterback and his four rushing touchdowns tied the team quarterback mark. Roy Helu had eight receptions for 110 yards and one touchdown as Nebraska took a 17-3 halftime lead and never looked back. The Cornhuskers racked up 587 yards of total offense, and have now out-gained every opponent in six straight games.
Texas is coming off a bye week knowing they have lost two straight games for the first time in since October 6, 2007. The Longhorns lost to Oklahoma in the annual Red River Rivalry game two weeks ago. Texas out-gained the Sooners but lost 28-20, as 3-point road dogs. They were upset in the previous week by UCLA as 15-point home favorites, despite out-gaining the Bruins in that game as well.
The Longhorns have out-gained their opponent in 10 straight games. If Texas does not commit turnovers or penalties, they usually win and cover. Garrett Gilbert threw for 266 yards in the loss at Oklahoma and is now completing 63% of his passes. His 6.39 yards per attempt ranks third last in the Big 12, and his 4/5 touchdown/interception ratio needs to improve.
Nebraska is averaging 495 yards of offense and 41 points per game. They are extremely hard to stop on the ground, evident by 7.7 yards per carry this season. The Longhorns have the better defense by 20 yards per game, but this will be the best overall offense they have faced so far. I think Texas misses Colt McCoy more than they will admit, as the offense has been good but not great. They are averaging 360 yards and just under 25 points per contest.
On the season, the Cornhuskers are yielding only 12.8 points and 275 total yards per contest. They’ve been solid vs. the run (147.0 yards), excellent vs. the pass (128.0 yards) and have made their share of big plays (13 turnovers forced, 11 sacks). Texas has committed 12 turnovers so far this season and will need to secure the ballagainst a very aggressive Cornhuskers’ defense.
On the flip side, the Longhorns are allowing 20 points and only 254.2 yards per game. They have good numbers vs. both run (104.0 yards) and pass (150.2), and are one of the nation’s top pass-rushing teams with 17 sacks.
The Cornhuskers and Longhorns will meet for the 14th time in their history. Texas holds a 9-4 series advantage, and has won five in a row. The last three contests have been decided by a total of six points. That includes the Longhorns’ 13-12 win, as 14-point road dogs over the Cornhuskers in the 2009 Big 12 championship game. That thrilling victory enabled Texas to land a spot in the Bowl Championship Series national title game vs. Alabama. Nebraska only gained 106 yards of total offense in that heart-break loss.
Big game for Nebraska while Texas will look to play spoiler. This year, the Longhorns’ national championship hopes are history. They simply haven’t been consistent, especially on offense and special teams. And they are one of the nation’s most penalized teams, being flagged 41 times so far this season. Nebraska should be highly motivated for this game after what happened when these two teams last played. There was a lot of bogus calls that went against them. Look for the Cornhuskers tobe extra fired-up in this game.
Jeff’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: Nebraska Cornhuskers-8.5.
The Cornhuskers have been waiting for this game ever since Texas upset them in a very controversial victory last December. Nebraska has too much team speed and being at home should give them an extra boost. Texas has gone 1-7 ATS in their last eight games while Nebraska is 10-2 ATS when playing a team with a winning record. Nebraska is 5-0 SU and 4-1 ATS as a home favorite of 7.5 to 10 points. Lay the wood!