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Nebraska's Streak Runs Out of Steam

College football: Unable to run against Texas A&M, Cornhuskers suffer 28-21 loss, their first in 20 games.

October 11, 1998|From Associated Press

COLLEGE STATION, Texas — Now Nebraska Coach Frank Solich knows why Tom Osborne decided to retire and go fishing.

Heavily favored Nebraska ran out of ways to keep its winning streak going, and Texas A&M came away with its biggest victory in nearly 60 years as Solich lost his first game as the Cornhuskers' coach.

Sedrick Curry's interception with 59 seconds left stopped the Cornhuskers' final drive and gave the 18th-ranked Aggies a 28-21 upset that ended No. 2 Nebraska's 19-game winning streak--longest currently among major-college teams.

"They beat us because they played better," Solich said. . "A&M has a very fine defense. And we hoped their offense wouldn't make so many big plays. We're down and hurt right now. We're not accustomed to taking a loss."

Nebraska, which has won or shared three of the last four national titles, lost for the fourth time in 69 games and dropped its first game since a 37-27 loss to Texas in the Big 12 championship game in 1996. The loss ended a 40-game, regular-season conference winning streak for Nebraska, which last lost a league game at Iowa State on Nov. 14, 1992.

"This is the biggest win of my career," said A&M Coach R.C. Slocum, who has been at the school 10 years.

A week after escaping with a 24-17 win over Oklahoma State, the Cornhuskers (5-1, 1-1 in the Big 12) were beaten at their own ground game by Texas A&M (5-1, 2-0).

The Aggies ran for 259 yards, while Nebraska had only 141. Two Texas A&M runners topped 100 yards, Dante Hall with 113 and Ja'Mar Toombs with 110.

Toombs, a freshman, scored one touchdown and set up another with a 71-yard run and Randy McCown threw an 81-yard touchdown pass to Chris Taylor to provide the offensive spark the Aggies have lacked most of the season. But even after building a 28-7 lead in the fourth quarter, Texas A&M needed Curry's interception to secure a win.

"I was just waiting for Nebraska to try to go deep and got a good jump on the ball," Curry said. "It was the biggest play I ever made in my life."

Nebraska quarterback Bobby Newcombe said the loud crowd of 60,798 "caused a miscommunication on the route and we just weren't on the same page. We just couldn't run the ball against them but we fought until the end."

It was the highest-ranked team Texas A&M has ever beaten. The previous best was a 14-13 victory over No. 4 Tulane in the 1939 Sugar Bowl to give the Aggies the national title.

At halftime Saturday, some of the members of the '39 team got their championship rings.

"This was our chance to get some respect," safety Rich Coady said. "This is a great win for anyone who has ever worn an A&M uniform."

The Aggies had lost nine consecutive games to top 10 teams, a streak going back to 1975 when A&M beat No. 5 Texas.

"We've been so close so many times to beating top 10 teams like Florida State and UCLA," offensive lineman Cameron Spikes said. "This time we didn't shoot ourselves in the foot."

Nebraska beat the Aggies, 54-14, last December in the Big 12 title game.

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