Posted by Adam Jacobi
MICHIGAN WON. Michigan turned a close game into a blowout in the second half, and the 20th ranked Wolverines slaughtered No. 17 Nebraska, 45-17. Denard Robinson was the man of the match the whole way through, finishing with 180 yards passing, 138 yards rushing, and four total touchdowns.
WHY MICHIGAN WON: Make no mistake: Michigan won this game and deserved it. But Nebraska's inability to get its defense off the field, particularly in the second half, meant that the Huskers were just never in position to make a game out of this one. In the second half alone, Nebraska fumbled two kickoffs, had a punt blocked, let a touchdown drive continue by allowing a first down on a fake field goal, committing a roughing the punter penalty (more on that in a second), and a Taylor Martinez fumble. Again: all in the second half. Michigan had a lot to do with those plays, obviously, but Nebraska simply can't play like that and expect to beat anybody.
WHEN MICHIGAN WON: Nebraska had cut the game to a 31-17 contest and forced Michigan into a three-and-out early in the fourth quarter, and it looked like a comeback was fully possible. But Nebraska committed a, shall we say, debatable roughing the punter penalty on the ensuing punt, and Robinson found Martavious Odoms for a 38-yard bomb in the back of the end zone, and this one was over.
Oh, then Tim Marlowe fumbled the ensuing kickoff for Nebraska. Like we said, the second half was pretty rough.
WHAT MICHIGAN WON: Michigan's bid for an at-large BCS bid is still alive as the Wolverines begin preparation for Ohio State. We're told that's a rivalry. What Michigan proved beyond a shadow of a doubt is that the defense is legit. Nebraska managed just 11 first downs and 254 total yards on the day, and while that's partly a function of the turnovers, it's also a function of Michigan's performance; the Wolverines forced 10 4th downs on 13 opportunities.
WHAT NEBRASKA LOST: Nebraska's last shot at the (sigh) Legends Division title is now officially gone; Michigan State beat Indiana 55-3, and with this Husker loss the Spartans have won the division. Also gone is any hope for an at-large BCS invitation, and now even a spot in the Top 25 is questionable. This is a tough loss for Husker fans to take all the way around.
THAT WAS CRAZY: Rex Burkhead had a very, very quiet day. The Husker workhorse didn't get into the end zone for the first time all year, and he set season lows in rushing yards (39) ... and rushes (10). The Nebraska offense is predicated on wearing defenses down over the course of a game, so why in the world is Bo Pelini giving his bruiser only 10 rushes out of 53 plays?!