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November 20, 2010

Callahan's take: Which Martinez will show up?

COLLEGE STATION, Texas - The Nebraska football team will arguably face their toughest challenge of the season tonight in College Station when they take on a red hot Texas A&M team.

As things get close to kickoff, here are the five keys to a Husker victory over the Aggies. NU enters tonight's game as a 2 point favorite over A&M.

Which Martinez will show up?

Ultimately the fate of Nebraska's offense is on which Taylor Martinez shows up at quarterback for the Huskers.

If it's the Martinez that dominated the months of September and October this team is very hard to beat. If it's the Martinez we saw last week against Kansas all bets are off. I think we should know right away how is ankle is within the first couple of drives on Saturday.

Confuse Tannehill with blitzes

One of the things NU head coach Bo Pelini does as well as any coach in the country is he disguises his blitzes to confuse an opposing quarterback.

I expect Pelini to do that today and come at Tannehill with a lot of different pressure packages he hasn't been able to study on film.

Force A&M into predictable situations on offense

A big part of the success with Nebraska's defense is forcing their opponent in predictable downs and situations.

If the Huskers can put the Aggies in some second and long and third and long type situations, it will allow Nebraska's pass rush to get after Tannehill and force him into some tough throws.

Find big plays on offense

One of the things that has slowed Nebraska's offense down the last two weeks is the big play has been missing. Whether that's a big run from Martinez or Roy Helu or finding Kyler Reed on a deep ball, NU's offense hasn't had that big play in the last two weeks.

In a tough road environment the Huskers need to find some big plays to quiet down the crowd and establish some early momentum with their offense.

Handle the environment

Nebraska has seen its fair share of loud stadiums at places like Virginia Tech and Washington the last two seasons, but Kyle Field in College Station may be their toughest challenge yet.

Locals are calling this the biggest game to hit Kyle Field over the month of November in quite some time. There will be over 30,000 students in attendance, which will unofficially be an NCAA record. I don't know if Nebraska fans know how significant of a home field advantage that can be.

The key will be communicating early. The Huskers need to stay poised in the noise. If they can do that I like their chances to come out of College Station with a win. I'll take Nebraska 27-23.

Callahan's Prediction: Nebraska 27 Texas A&M 23
Season Record: 9-1 overall; 7-3 vs. points

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