Michigan Routs Nebraska in Ann Arbor
In order for the Huskers to have an opportunity to beat Michigan in Ann Arbor, they needed to do a few things. They had to contain Denard Robinson and Fitzgerald Toussaint - the pair ran for 218 rushing yards and four touchdowns. They had to avoid penalties - they were called for eight of them, some of them real killers. The receivers needed to catch every ball - a number of catchable balls were dropped. Alfonzo Dennard needed to be a shutdown corner - he gave up two big plays that led to the Wolverines' first touchdown. They needed to play well on special teams - they botched two punts, fumbled two kickoff returns, and were duped on a faked field goal. So it's not surprising given those facts that the outcome was a 45-17 Wolverine victory.
The Michigan defense was every bit as good as advertised. The Wolverines held NU without a third down conversion for nearly three quarters. They held Husker running back Rex Burkhead to 36 yards and the Husker offense to 256 total yards. A 54-yard touchdown pass from Taylor Martinez to Brandon Kinnie in the first half was the only major offensive highlight. Terrence Moore made a tipped ball interception to set up a Husker field goal that tied the score at 10-10 before a twelve play Michigan drive gave the Wolverines a 17-10 lead going into the half.
Michigan converted a Nebraska fumble to open the third quarter into a touchdown to pull out to a 24-10 lead. They converted a blocked punt on Nebraska's ensuing drive into a 31-10 lead using a fake field goal. The Huskers finally showed some life offensively as they engineered a 42-yard touchdown drive to capitalize on some good field position to pull within two scores. But a very questionnable roughing the punter penalty kept Nebraska from stopping Michigan on the ensuing drive which ended with Denard Robinson throwing his second touchdown pass of the game. Nebraska "answered" that score with a pair of lost fumbles which set up a Toussaint touchdown run.
Nebraska must get over this game quickly. They host Iowa on Friday for senior day. At stake for NU is a potential Capital One Bowl berth versus falling to the Insight Bowl. Not to mention bragging rights for the neighboring states. This was a disappointing effort for coaches, players and fans of Nebraska. The season won't live up to expectations but a 10-3 record (the best since Frank Solich) is still obtainable. There will be better days ahead, let's hope that Friday will be one of them.