The upset alert held up. The Texas A&M Aggies beat the Huskers 9-6 in a defensive struggle highlighted by the re-injury of Taylor Martinez’ ankle early in the game, which forced Cody Green to play much of the first half while Martinez was X-rayed and re-taped; and officiating which seemed inconsistent and out of balance in its calls for the Aggies.
It sounds like “sour grapes” to blame officials, but calls of interference were assessed to the Huskers that did not seem to apply to the Aggies. Twice, in the fourth quarter, the interference call kept the Aggies drive alive that resulted in the winning three points, when there was an earlier play where the Aggie defender, blocking a pass, clearly pulled on the pads of the receiver.
ABC announcer, Kirk Herbstreit, commented the touch was not necessarily interference when it was made, but it seemed inconsistent with earlier calls where offensive and defensive players had hands on each other, and the Nebraska defender was flagged for interference. There was also a call for a late hit on the quarterback when the Nebraska defender brought the Aggie quarterback down in a continuation of motion; tackling without using the helmet or forcing him to the ground. When the difference in the game is three points, those calls seemed inconsistently out of balance with the penalties assessed on the Huskers. The Huskers were charged with 16 penalties for 144 yards, including an unsportsmanlike penalty on Coach Pelini who was frustrated and yelling at the officials. The Aggies were charged with only 2 penalties.
The Husker loss takes them out of any discussion for the national title. They also fail to clinch the Big 12 North, again, as the Missouri Tigers beat the Iowa State Cyclones 14-0, as well. Finally, to win the Big 12 North they need to get past a rejuvenated Colorado. While the Buffaloes appeared to be a certain victory at the start of the season, in the past two weeks after dismissing their coach, they have won consecutive games and with another upset victory would have six wins on the season.
So, the storybook ending is not a certainty. The Huskers want to leave the Big 12 on top, but must win against Colorado to earn the Big 12 North title, as Missouri plays an improving Kansas team in Arrowhead Stadium; with the expectation Missouri will win that game. A tie will still put Nebraska in the game, because of the Husker’s victory over the Tigers. The Big 12 South winner will be the Oklahoma/Oklahoma State winner next week.