Instant analysis: Nebraska 23, Michigan 9
October, 27, 2012
By Adam Rittenberg | ESPN.com
LINCOLN, Neb. -- Three weeks after getting blown out at Ohio State, Nebraska has rallied to take control of the Legends division. The Huskers beat a Michigan team playing without star quarterback Denard Robinson in the second half, receiving big performances from their defense and enough offense from Taylor Martinez and Co.
Let's take a quick look at Nebraska's 23-9 win at Memorial Stadium.
It was over when: We didn't know it at the time, but Michigan had very little chance to win after Robinson aggravated a right elbow injury late in the second quarter. He did not return and backup Russell Bellomy misfired on his first 11 pass attempts and threw three interceptions. Nebraska officially put it away when Ameer Abdullah scored from 12 yards out on a nice cutback run to put the Huskers up two touchdowns with 10:19 to play.
Gameball goes to: Nebraska running back Abdullah. While several defenders stepped up for the Huskers, Abdullah provided the boost Nebraska needed on offense as it played without star senior Rex Burkhead (knee). Abdullah showed tremendous quickness and vision, racking up 101 rush yards and a touchdown on 24 carries.
Stat of the game: Michigan failed to score a touchdown for the second consecutive game. The Wolverines last reached the end zone on a Thomas Rawls run with 6:01 left in their 45-0 win against Illinois on Oct. 13.
What Michigan learned: As good as the Wolverines are on defense, they can't win without Robinson, at least not now. Robinson accounts for too much of the offense and too much of the game plan. Bellomy was put in a tough spot but looked completely overmatched against an aggressive Nebraska defense. If Robinson is out for an extended period, Michigan will have a tough time remaining in the division race.
What Nebraska learned: The Blackshirts are starting to show up against spread offenses. After keeping Northwestern at bay, Nebraska's defense held Michigan in check, even before Robinson's injury. The Huskers still make too many mistakes, but they seemed to have turned a corner since the Ohio State debacle, and Martinez has played well the past two games. The Big Ten is up for grabs, and Nebraska might be right there to take it.
What it means: Nebraska and Michigan are tied atop the Legends division at 3-1, but the Huskers hold the all-important head-to-head tiebreaker. Bo Pelini's team can take a huge step toward locking up the division next week as it visits Michigan State, which has dropped three games at home this season. Michigan, meanwhile, must hope Nebraska falters at least once in order to get to Indianapolis.
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BIG TEN SCOREBOARD
Final Washington State 45 Colorado State 48 Final 20 Fresno State 20 25 USC 45 Final Buffalo 24 San Diego State 49 Final Tulane 21 Louisiana-Lafayette 24
Final Pittsburgh 30 Bowling Green 27 Final Utah State 21 23 Northern Illinois 14
Final Marshall 31 Maryland 20 Final Syracuse 21 Minnesota 17 Final Brigham Young 16 Washington 31
Final Rutgers 16 Notre Dame 29 Final Cincinnati 17 North Carolina 39 Final Miami (FL) 9 18 Louisville 36 Final Michigan 14 Kansas State 31
Final Middle Tennessee 6 Navy 24 Final Ole Miss 25 Georgia Tech 17 Final 10 Oregon 30 Texas 7 Final 14 Arizona State 23 Texas Tech 37
Final Arizona 42 Boston College 19 Final Virginia Tech 12 17 UCLA 42 Final Rice 7 Mississippi State 44 Final 24 Duke 48 21 Texas A&M 52
Final Nebraska 24 22 Georgia 19 Final UNLV 14 North Texas 36 Final Iowa 14 16 LSU 21 Final 19 Wisconsin 24 9 South Carolina 34 Final 5 Stanford 20 4 Michigan State 24 Final 15 UCF 52 6 Baylor 42
Final 13 Oklahoma State 31 8 Missouri 41 Final 12 Clemson 40 7 Ohio State 35