BY CHRIS ZADOROZNY, Staff Writer
In the first Big Ten matchup between Nebraska and Michigan, and seventh matchup all time, the Wolverines scored points, early and often.
In a game that had a power outage in parts of the stadium throughout the whole game, the Wolverine offense experienced no such thing as quarterback Denard Robinson led the charge with two touchdowns, 180 yards passing. He also had two rushing touchdowns of his own and tied former Michigan quarterback Tom Brady for 35 touchdowns all time in Michigan Football History.
Wide receiver Jeremy Gallon put the Wolverines up early on the second drive of the game with a six yard touchdown reception from Robinson.
Taylor Martinez and the Nebraska offense came into Saturday’s game ranked fourteenth in rushing yards, averaging 224.1 yard per game. The Wolverines held that high powered offense to only 138 yards on the ground.
Brandon Gibbons kicked a 42-yard field goal late in the first quarter to put the Wolverines up 10-0, but the Cornhuskers would respond. Martinez found wide receiver Brandon Kinnie for a 54-yard touchdown reception to cut the lead to 10-7.
Michigan was unable to recover from the touchdown and Robinson would throw an interception that resulted in a Brett Maher 51-yard field goal to tie the game at 10 early in the second quarter.
That was the closest Nebraska would come to taking the lead. Robinson rushed a 14 yard run into the end zone to put the Wolverines up 17-10, a quick response to the field goal by Maher. The drive after the field goal was 12 plays and amassed 74 yards in six minutes and seven seconds.
It was one of the longer, well-sustained drives by the Wolverines that really took any momentum out of the Cornhuskers game. The rest of the second quarter was non-eventful as there were some three and outs by both sides and the Wolverines would keep the 17-10 lead into halftime.
The third quarter was suppose to start with Nebraska having the ball, but freshman wide receiver Kenny Bell fumbled the ball on the kick return giving possession to the Wolverines. Any momentum the Cornhuskers wanted to gain from the possible first drive they so badly needed was gone. Robinson would rush in one yard for the touchdown on the drive putting the Wolverines up 24-10.
The following Nebraska drive didn’t produce much and the Wolverines gained more momentum with a blocked punt at the 50 yard line. The great field position helped the Wolverines but it looked like they were going to get a field goal off of the drive instead of six points.
They were unable to get a first down on the Nebraska four yard line and with a fourth and one on the fifth, they lined up to kick the field goal. Just about everyone in the stadium was fooled when holder Drew Dileo picked up the ball and ran for a first down to the one yard line instead of holding it for Gibbons to kick. Running back Fitzgerald Toussaint ran one yard in one play later to get those six points and after a good PAT, would lead the game 31-10.
Nebraska had no response as the offense was pretty much kept to nothing by the Michigan defense. They were the unsung heroes of the game because even though the Wolverines held the ball two and a half times longer than the Cornhuskers, the defense did their job.
Martinez and the Cornhusker offense finally scored their first touchdown of the second half with an Ameer Abdullah three yard run. The touchdown would cut the Wolverine’s lead from 31-10 to 31-17. That would end the third quarter and with another whole quarter to go, you can never count the Nebraska Cornhuskers out.
The Michigan Wolverine’s didn’t as they put more points on the board in the fourth quarter.
On their first drive of the quarter, Robinson found wide receiver Martavious Odoms for a 38 yard touchdown reception. This score pretty much sealed the deal as the Wolverines took their larger lead back, 38-17. On the kickoff, Nebraska once again fumbled the ball with a Michigan recovery and it looked like they would get more points but this time, Gibbons missed a 42 yard field goal.
Toussaint ran another touchdown in, his second of the game, a 31-yard rush after yet another Nebraska fumble. The Wolverines would go up 45-17 and that’s how this game would end. This game was one of the first in a couple of years that actually had meaning for some of the seniors on this team, including Mike Martin. Near the end of the game, the crowd started chanting, “Beat Ohio,” taking after coach Brady Hoke’s name for the Ohio State Buckeyes.
Even though the Wolverines wont be able to win their division, the game still has meaning coming up for everyone wearing the Maize and Blue. The Wolverines are now 9-2 overall with a 5-2 record in the Big Ten.
Their bowl fate will be found after this Saturday. It will be Senior Day for the Wolverines this coming Saturday as the game will start at 12pm on ABC. Go Blue!!!