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November 11, 2006

Huskers top A&M, clinch Big 12 North title

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Notes: Huskers clinch North | Franchione on thin ice | Box score

COLLEGE STATION, Texas - Zac Taylor threw a 9-yard touchdown pass to Maurice Purify with 21 seconds left as Nebraska clinched a berth in the Big 12 championship game with a wild 28-27 win over No. 24 Texas A&M at Kyle Field on Saturday.

The Aggies (8-3, 4-3) trailed 21-10 at halftime, but Jorvorskie Lane's one-yard touchdown run with 7:28 left capped an A&M comeback. The Aggies got a two-point conversion to make it 27-21 and Mark Dodge intercepted Taylor with 2:50 remaining, seemingly sealing the biggest victory of coach Dennis Franchione's four-year tenure.

But Layne Neumann's 42-yard field goal attempt was blocked and Nebraska (8-3, 5-2) regained possession at its own 24 with 1:57 to go.

Taylor completed passes of 22, 16 and 13 yards to Todd Peterson to drive Nebraska to the A&M 17 in the final minute.

A roughing the passer penalty on A&M defensive tackle Marques Thornton gave the Huskers a first-and-goal at the 9 and Taylor lofted a pass to Purify in the corner of the end zone to tie the game. Jordan Congdon's extra point kick gave the Huskers the lead.

Adam Carriker sacked A&M quarterback Stephen McGee on the last play to give the Cornhuskers the North Division title and their first trip to the conference championship game since 1999.

Cody Glenn had two touchdown runs for Nebraska, which beat A&M for the 10th time in 12 meetings.

Lane set a single-season A&M record with his 19th touchdown and McGee and Mike Goodson also had TD runs for the Aggies, who've taken all three of their conference losses at home. Lane broke one the oldest records in the A&M record book, set by Joel Hunt in 1927.

The 6-foot, 278-pound running back also set up the score with a 44-yard pass to Chad Schroeder.

The Cornhuskers shredded the Aggies' defense early and appeared on their way to an easy win.

Taylor threw a touchdown pass to Peterson in the second quarter. It was Taylor's 21st TD pass this year, a single-season Nebraska record. He also became Nebraska's all-time passing leader on the play and now has 5,193 career passing yards.

Glenn scored his first TD with 5:58 left in the first quarter, but the Aggies answered quickly.

McGee froze Nebraska's defense with a play-action fake on A&M's ensuing possession and threw a 47-yard pass to wide-open Kerry Franks. Two plays later, Goodson took an option pitch and scored from 22 yards out to make it 7-7.

Taylor converted a third-and-9 with a 15-yard pass to Peterson before Glenn scored again, on the first play of the second quarter.

Neumann kicked a 37-yard field goal just before halftime made it 21-10. The Aggies mustered only 37 yards in the first half after their lone touchdown drive.

The Aggies crossed midfield on their first two possessions of the third quarter, but came away with nothing. The A&M defense held Nebraska to one first down in the quarter and Goodson kick-started the Aggies' rally with a 53-yard run to the Huskers' 11. Neumann booted a 20-yard field goal with 16 seconds left in the quarter.

Nebraska went three-and-out again early in the fourth quarter and McGee caught the Huskers blitzing and outran the defense for a 57-yard touchdown with 12:51 left. He was sacked on the two-point conversion and A&M trailed 21-19.

For more coverage of the Nebraska Cornhuskers, check out HuskersIllustrated.com; for more coverage of the Texas A&M Aggies, check out Websider.com.

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