Tuesday, October 26, 1999
Houston, Texas
Volume 65, Issue 46

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Aggies having forgetful October; QB leads UT over Nebraska

By Sharif Talukder
Top 25/NCAA Football Notebook

Texas A&M was over-ranked from the beginning of the season. Everybody was thinking "national championship" in August.

Well now, in the month of October, everybody outside of College Station is laughing at the Aggies. Meanwhile, the Aggies are wondering what happened.

Texas quarterback Major Applewhite led the Longhorns to 429 total yards of offense in UT's 24-20 win against Nebraska.

Photo courtesy of the University of Texas

What happened was that they were not prepared for a powerful passing attack and a dominating defense to go with it.

Oklahoma's quarterback Josh Heupel tore up the once-proud Aggie defense for 372 yards, leading the Sooners, who tallied 51 points.

The Aggies' potent offense pulled out 230 yards and a total of six points to continue their tradition of struggling on the road.

"Oklahoma really killed us," A&M offensive guard Chris Valletta said. "They beat us, beat us bad. They pulled out all the stops and they deserve to win."

How poetic. Next week, the Aggies (5-2) will face the Oklahoma State Cowboys in a pivotal South Big 12 game.

Unlike their buddies in College Station, the Texas Longhorns pulled off one of the biggest upsets of the day by defeating third-ranked Nebraska, 24-20.

How important was running back Ricky Williams to the success to the Longhorns' season last year? After Texas quarterback Major Applewhite led the Longhorns' offense to 429 total yards and came back in the fourth quarter, it's questionable whether Williams really was "all that."

Applewhite is setting himself up as a potential front-runner for the Heisman next year, as well as for Offense Player of the Year honors in the Big 12 for this season. Texas freshman quarterback Chris Simms better get used to his place on the bench because he will be there for another two years.

This is the third straight game that Nebraska has lost to the Longhorns, making people wonder, "Did Texas place a curse on the Cornhuskers after their fluke win in 1996?"

With the loss, Nebraska fell to a tie with Mississippi State for eighth place and now must play Kansas State to win the Big North. Also, it might face the Longhorns again for the Big 12 championship.

Texas jumps to No. 12 in the country and is tied for first place in the Big 12 South with Texas Tech. It will travel to Iowa State in a Big 12 matchup next week.

Nebraska will face Kansas, which should be a warm-up game against Kansas State, if the Cornhuskers live up to their capabilities.

And what about those Rice Owls? After getting their tails kicked by Houston, Michigan, and Texas, they are now 5-3 and undefeated (4-0) in conference play.

OK, maybe the Western Athletic Conference does not pose a real threat to any good teams out there, but by winning the WAC, they will have an automatic bowl birth to Las Vegas.

Rice beat its toughest test in Texas Christian University 42-21 on Saturday and, barring any upsets, they should win out the rest of the season.

Conference Standings:

A look into the conference races:

Atlantic Coast Conference -- If it's not a given already, it's pretty obvious Florida State (4-0) will clinch the conference. Georgia Tech is 3-1 with its only loss coming at the hands of Florida State. Should the Seminoles lose a game this year, they will own the tie-breaker.

Big East -- Virginia Tech and Miami are both undefeated in conference play. The winner of this matchup (Nov. 13) will win the conference.

Big 10 -- Penn State is undefeated (4-0) and Wisconsin has only one loss (4-1). The two schools won't face each other this season, so it looks like Penn State will win the conference. Wisconsin could go to the Rose Bowl if Penn State makes the Sugar Bowl, the BCS championship bowl.

Big 12 -- In the North, it looks like a matchup in November will determine the winner of this division. Kansas State will have to travel to Lincoln, Neb., to face the Cornhuskers, which holds national implications for both teams.

In the South, Texas Tech will face Texas on Nov. 13 for the South division title. Both schools have only one loss in conference play, but both must win out to win the division. Otherwise, the Oklahoma Sooners and the Texas A&M Aggies could crawl back into the picture.

Pac-10 -- Is this still a conference? When Stanford is your best team and University of California at Los Angeles is the worst team, there is something wrong with the water in the West.

At least Stanford is ranked. The Cardinals are undefeated and Arizona State and Washington both have one loss. This is a real toss-up on who is going to win the conference. Of course, the Pac-10 champ will have the honor of getting pounded by a Big 10 team in a bowl game.

Southeastern Conference -- In the East, if Florida wins out in conference play, it will go to the SEC Championship game. Tennessee must hope that Georgia can beat the Gators.

Georgia must beat the Gators and hope the Vols lose another game to go to the SEC championship game.

Amazingly enough, Kentucky and Vanderbilt are one game away from being bowl-eligible.

In the West, Mississippi State survived another loss by the Louisiana State University Tigers and are now 4-0 in the conference. It is the only undefeated team in the conference.

Alabama has only one loss in conference play. When Mississippi State and the Crimson Tide meet in Alabama, that will determine one-half of the SEC Championship game.

WAC -- Rice is in first and Hawaii is in second with only one loss. Unfortunately, the Rainbow Warriors' only loss was against Rice, so they must hope that the Owls lose two more conference games and fall from first place.

Dayne Watch

Running back Ron Dayne from Wisconsin rushed for 214 yards in the game against Michigan State. Dayne passed running back Charles White for third in NCAA all-time rushing yards.

Ron Dayne

Dayne now needs 483 yards to break Williams' record, which was set only last season. He has three games left to do it.

Dayne must average 161 yards against Northwestern, Purdue and Iowa to break the record.

Note to Wisconsin head football coach Barry Alverez: Please let Ron Dayne play the entire game -- not just half of it.

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