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5 Reasons Why Michigan State Spartans Beat Nebraska Cornhuskers

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5 Factors That Contributed to Michigan State's Win Over Nebraska

Bruce Thorson - USA Today Sports

The Michigan State Spartans headed to Lincoln for a Big Ten Legends Division clash with the Nebraska Cornhuskers on Saturday afternoon.

It was essentially a must-win game for both teams. The Legends Division is still up in the air, and they both had a chance to win it. Michigan State had only lost one game this season to the Notre Dame Fighting Irish and was the only team in the Legends Division that was still undefeated in the Big Ten. Nebraska needed a win against the Spartans in order to keep their Big Ten hopes alive. A Nebraska win would’ve made the rest of the season very interesting. Instead, Michigan State got the win and put themselves up two games in the Legends over Nebraska and the Minnesota Golden Gophers. The win also allowed the Spartans to clinch at least a share of the Legends Division title.

The season is not over yet, but it looks like Michigan State will be playing the Ohio State Buckeyes in the Big Ten Championship. That’s what we’ve all been waiting for, right? Michigan State’s defense against Ohio State’s offense will be an interesting matchup that many are curious to see.

Michigan State will need to get past the Northwestern Wildcats on the road and Minnesota at home before their trip to the Big Ten Championship is sealed.

This was a good game. Either team could’ve won this game, but mistakes and an uncharacteristically good Michigan State offense seemed to be huge factors in this win for the Spartans. It was the Spartans' first-ever win over the Cornhuskers.

What were the biggest factors that contributed to Michigan State’s win?

Jenna Aquino is a Big Ten Football writer for Follow her on Twitter, "Like" her on Facebook, add her to your network on Google, or reach her by e-mail at

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5. Nebraska’s quarterback struggles

Brian Spurlock - USA Today Sports

The Cornhuskers lost fourth-year starting quarterback Taylor Martinez to a foot injury this season and have been relying on their backups, Ron Kellogg III and Tommy Armstrong Jr. Armstrong passed for 143 yards and two touchdowns, but also had an interception and a lost fumble. The lost fumble killed Nebraska. They were trying to run the clock out to go into halftime when Armstrong fumbled it, resulting in a Michigan State touchdown to put the Spartans up 20-7 at the half.

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4. Michigan State’s offensive line

Mike Carter - USA Today Sports

The offensive line is better this season. Last season, it suffered because of multiple injuries. They should be given credit for protecting quarterback Connor Cook and running back Jeremy Langford, and allowing them to shine in recent weeks.

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3. Connor Cook

Bruce Thorson - USA Today Sports

The once-questionable quarterback has shown much improvement throughout the season. The Cook-Langford combination in the backfield and the protection from the offensive line is what won them this game. Normally, it’s their stellar defense, but it was their offense that showed what they can do on Saturday. Cook threw for 193 yards and one touchdown in the win over the Cornhuskers.

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2. Jeremy Langford

Mike Carter - USA Today Sports

Langford was the star of a Michigan State offense that looked much better than it had for most of the season. He has been carrying the load offensively for the Spartans in recent weeks. Langford carried 32 times for a career-high 151 yards and three touchdowns against the Cornhuskers. This performance gave him his sixth 100-yard rushing game in a row.

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1. Turnovers

Bruce Thorson - USA Today Sports

Nebraska had five turnovers in this game. It would’ve been a whole different game if they hadn’t made these mistakes. It is difficult to recover from, especially against a very good Michigan State defense and a Michigan State offense that was much better than usual. Nebraska could’ve won this game if it wasn’t for the turnovers. If they want to win any more games this season, they need to learn how to hold onto the ball. Michigan State did not have a single turnover in this game.