Nebraska 23, Michigan 9

The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchangeOctober 28, 2012


LINCOLN, Neb. -- With Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson out of the game, Nebraska found a much clearer path to the top of the Big Ten Conference's Legends Division.
Nebraska harassed Robinson's backup, freshman Russell Bellomy, into three second-half interceptions, and the Huskers defeated No. 22 Michigan 23-9 on Saturday night at Memorial Stadium.
Robinson, a senior who's the Big Ten's all-time leader in rushing yards by a quarterback, left the game late in the second quarter and didn't return. He was holding his arm after he landed awkwardly on a running play. He finished with 10 rushes for 46 yards.
Without him, Michigan (5-3, 3-1 Big Ten) couldn't muster enough offense, as the Huskers shut down the Wolverines' running game, blitzed Bellomy often and held Michigan to 188 yards.
Nebraska (6-2, 3-1 Big Ten) forced a tie with Michigan atop the Legends Division. The Huskers, who play at Michigan State next weekend, also own the all-important tiebreaker against the Wolverines.
Nebraska quarterback Taylor Martinez, who also limped off the field on the Huskers' last possession of the first half, returned after halftime and finished with 58 yards rushing on 14 carries.
Martinez's 29-yard option run set up Ameer Abdullah's 12-yard touchdown run that sealed the victory with 10:19 remaining. Abdullah led Nebraska with 101 yards on 24 carries.
The three-play drive came after safety Daimion Stafford intercepted Bellomy's pass at the Michigan 47-yard line.
The Huskers also intercepted a pass in the Nebraska end zone on the Wolverines' next series, thwarting any comeback, as Nebraska then ran the final 6:54 off the clock to remain undefeated at home this season.
Brett Maher kicked third-quarter field goals of 19, 51 and 31 yards to give Nebraska a 16-6 lead.
His first kick came with 11:48 remaining in the third quarter. Nebraska had to settle for three points after having first-and-goal at the Michigan 4-yard line, thanks to P.J. Smith's 53-yard interception return.
Smith caught a Bellomy pass that deflected off intended receiver Vincent Smith as Smith lay on the turf, and Smith returned it down the Michigan sideline.
Bellomy didn't complete a pass to a Michigan player until his 11th attempt, that coming late in the third quarter when he hit fullback Joe Kerridge along the sideline for a 12-yard completion. Bellomy was 3-of-16 passing.
That first completion, though, helped Michigan cut Nebraska's lead to 16-9 on Brendan Gibbons' 38-yard field goal with 42 seconds remaining in the third quarter. The Wolverines had moved from their 21-yard line to the Nebraska 21 thanks to 45 yards in penalties on the Huskers.
Nebraska led 7-6 at halftime. The Cornhuskers blitzed Bellomy, for two incomplete passes, forcing a 24-yard field goal by Gibbons that cut Nebraska's lead to 7-6 with 2:38 remaining.
Martinez moved the Huskers to midfield but lost a fumble on a keeper and injured his ankle in the process. He hobbled off the field, but Nebraska's defense again pressured Bellomy for two incompletions and a sack to close the half.
The Huskers, who didn't score in the first quarter for the first time this season, picked up the tempo on their first drive of the second quarter.
Martinez completed five passes to five receivers on a six-play, 72-yard drive that culminated in his 32-yard touchdown pass to Kenny Bell. Martinez threw a fade pass to a wide-open Bell, who caught the ball at the 10-yard line and ran to the pylon for a 7-0 lead.
Michigan responded with a 10-play, 44-yard drive that ended with Gibbons' 52-yard field goal. Nebraska declined a third-down holding penalty that would've pushed Michigan out of field goal range.
NOTES: Nebraska played without senior running back Rex Burkhead, who sat with a knee injury. It's the third game Burkhead has missed because of injury this season. ... The crowd of 86,160 was the second-largest at Memorial Stadium. ... All six of Bell's touchdowns this season have covered at least 25 yards. ... Michigan was making its first appearance at Memorial Stadium since 1911.