On a day when many questioned both sides of the football, while also playing up the significance of a Spartans victory over the Badgers, the Huskers came out and hit the Spartans in the mouth. They hit them hard, and did not let up. Not until the clock read 0:00 was the Husker victory complete.
Though the line on the game was Nebraska by -5, I’m not sure many would agree with that. It didn’t matter though, as the Huskers came out and stomped on the Spartans today en route to a 24-3 win. It should have been 28-3, but an apparent touchdown by Rex Burkhead was never reviewed, and Nebraska would be forced to kick a field goal.
Breaking down the offense, Beck called a pretty good game. I did not agree with the shovel pass play to Cotton. Run that with Jamal Turner or another speed player. He definitely kept the aggressive Michigan State defense off balanced during the game. After making some nice adjustments at halftime, Nebraska came out and passed the ball pretty well. Though they only finished with 80 passing yards in the game, it was still enough to keep the the Spartans off balance enough to open up running room for Rex Burkhead and company.
Defensively, enough cannot be said about the game they played. 4 sacks, 2 of which came by Eric Martin, were huge and made Kirk Cousins nervous back there. Alfonzo Dennard put BJ Cunningham under the blanket. Though he did have a lot of 2 deep help, he still went up and challenged Cunningham when Cousins went deep. Dennard had no problem getting up, and swatted away 3 passes. Andrew Green, Ciante Evans, and Damion Stafford all played well too.
Offensive game ball has to go to Rex Burkhead. 35 carries, 130 yards and 2 scores on the ground. He also had one reception for 27 yards and touchdown, just two play after he got hurt. Beck leaned heavily on Burkhead all day. Rex was definitely not afraid of the 8th ranked rushing defense in the country.
Defensively, the game ball goes to…I can’t decide on one individual person. Eric Martin had 2 sacks on the day. Dennard made a few tackles while shutting out BJ Cunningham. David was all over the field. Will Compton played a great game, finishing with quite a few tackles, the number of which escapes me.
Why not just give the entire defense a game ball. They held the Spartans to just 187 yards of offense, with 101 of that on the ground. Lance Thorell’s early interception put the Huskers in prime scoring position, of which they would capitalize on.
Neither team really had many big plays. What plays they did, happened to get called back by a penalty. I was also surprised by the number of penalties by the Spartans, particularly on defense. If I were a guessing man, I’d say frustration was setting in.
If Iowa wins today, we will have a 4 team log jam at the top of the Legends Division. However, thanks to the victory today, Nebraska now controls their own destiny.