Huskers look to bounce back against Texas A&M

Updated: October 16, 2003, 4:45 PM ET

LINCOLN, Neb. -- Nebraska wants to right itself quickly.

Last week's fourth-quarter meltdown against Missouri was a reminder of the Cornhuskers' mediocrity last season.

So Saturday against Texas A&M, 18th-ranked Nebraska is out to prove that the 41-24 loss to the Tigers was merely a blip on the route to recovery from its worst season since 1961.

"We can still meet the expectations we set forth," wide receiver Mark LeFlore said. "Sure, we would have liked to win that Missouri game, and it was pretty hard to take. But I don't think it's going to be like last year."

The Huskers (5-1, 1-1 Big 12) led Missouri by 10 points entering the fourth quarter. But the Tigers outscored them 27-0 over the final 15 minutes, and suddenly last year's 7-7 record didn't seem so far away.

LeFlore said the team's captains are more vocal this season and won't allow players to sulk after a loss, as they did a year ago.

Practices have been as lively as ever this week.

"What's so great about this team is we all know we have to get back to work," linebacker Demorrio Williams said. "Nobody is pointing fingers. Everybody has the mind-set that we have a chance at the Big 12 North."

Texas A&M coach Dennis Franchione expects to see an inspired opponent.

"I'm not sure we're playing Nebraska at a very good time this week," he said. "It's never easy to go to Lincoln and play those guys. I'm sure they're going to want to make amends."

With so much parity in the Big 12 North -- there is a four-way tie for first place -- it's the games against the South that might decide which team reaches the conference championship game.

The Huskers' defense, which slipped from first to second in the nation after giving up 452 yards against Missouri, will be facing a balanced offense that is producing 441.5 yards and 33.3 points a game.

The Aggies (3-3, 1-1) padded those numbers with one of the most productive days in school history in a 73-10 victory over Baylor last weekend.

A&M's 10 touchdowns were the most since the 1944 team scored 11 against Miami. Its 719 yards were the second-most in program history. And the point total was the most since a 73-0 win over Missouri in 1993.

Courtney Lewis leads a rushing attack that's fifth in the nation at 217.3 yards a game. Lewis, with 556 yards and nine touchdowns, is bidding to become A&M's first 1,000-yard rusher since Dante Hall in 1998.

Reggie McNeal, who is completing 55.4 percent of his passes for 164.7 yards a game, has thrown for seven touchdowns and been intercepted only twice.

Wideout Jamaar Taylor needs 36 yards to become the Aggies' career leader in yards receiving.

Huskers coach Frank Solich said the Aggies appear to be coming together under Franchione, who's in his first season at A&M. The Aggies lost three straight games before facing Baylor.

"Any time there is a new coach and new staff, there is a transition period where players are getting a feel for what you're doing," Solich said. "They're playing better week by week. That's a sign of a good team."

This story is from ESPN.com's automated news wire. Wire index