Oct. 27, 2012
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Site: Lincoln, Neb. (Memorial Stadium)
Score: Nebraska 23, #20 Michigan 9
Records: U-M (5-3, 3-1 Big Ten), NEB (6-2, 3-1 Big Ten)
Next U-M Game: Saturday, Nov. 3 -- at Minnesota (Minneapolis, Minn.), 11 a.m. CDT
LINCOLN, Neb. -- For the second consecutive game, the University of Michigan football team (No. 20 AP/No. 20 USA Today Coaches) failed to find the end zone, falling at Nebraska, 23-9, on Saturday (Oct. 27) at Memorial Stadium. It is U-M's first conference loss of the season.
Michigan failed to eclipse 200 total offensive yards in the contest for the first time in 2012, while the Cornhuskers tallied 326 yards.
Senior quarterback Denard Robinson (Deerfield Beach, Fla./Deerfield Beach) compiled 46 yards rushing and 55 yards passing before leaving due to injury late in the opening half. Sophomore/freshman quarterback Russell Bellomy (Arlington, Texas/Martin) added 38 yards through the air in relief, while senior/junior running back Fitzgerald Toussaint (Youngstown, Ohio/Liberty) rushed for 38 yards.
Fifth-year senior linebacker Kenny Demens (Oak Park, Mich./Detroit Country Day) had 10 total tackles, including one tackle-for-loss, and sophomore linebacker Desmond Morgan (Holland, Mich./West Ottawa) brought down nine Cornhuskers, with one tackle-for-loss and one pass breakup.
The Wolverines took the ball to begin the game but were forced to a three-and-out. The trend continued for both teams as each squad punted on its first two possessions. Michigan gained a total of just 59 yards and missed on a long field goal attempt in the first 15 minutes, while Nebraska garnered only 34 total yards -- failing to score in the first quarter for the first time all season.
The Cornhuskers struck first early in the second quarter when quarterback Taylor Martinez marched the team 72 yards down the field on six plays, ending with a 32-yard touchdown pass to Kenny Bell to give Nebraska a 7-0 lead. However, Michigan responded by moving 44 yards on 10 plays, culminating with a career-long 52-yard field goal by senior/junior kicker Brendan Gibbons (West Palm Beach, Fla./Cardinal Newman) to cut the deficit to 7-3.
After forcing Nebraska to a three-and-out, the Maize and Blue moved the ball back down the field. On a quarterback keep to the left side, Robinson dove forward for a first down but injured his right hand and left the game. The drive then stalled with Bellomy under center, and Gibbons added his second field goal of the night from 24 yards to bring the Wolverines within one point, 7-6, near the end of the first half.
With less than one minute left in the second quarter, sophomore/freshman defensive lineman Keith Heitzman (Hilliard, Ohio/Hilliard Davidson) recovered a Martinez fumble to nullify a Cornhuskers scoring threat before the half.
On the first Cornhuskers possession of the second half, Morgan jumped to deflect a Martinez pass, which freshman defensive end Mario Ojemudia (Farmington Hills, Mich./Harrison) hauled in for his first career interception. However, on the third play of the Michigan drive, Nebraska garnered its first takeaway of the game, returning an interception deep into Wolverines territory before adding its first field goal to extend the lead to 10-6.
After another Michigan punt, Nebraska moved the ball back into Wolverines territory and kicker Brett Maher connected on a 51-yard field goal. One possession later, Maher added his third field goal, from 31 yards, to make the score 16-6.
Fueled by two 15-yard penalties on the Cornhuskers, the Wolverines took the ball and moved 58 yards down the field on eight plays, culminating with Gibbons' third field goal of the contest to cut the Nebraska lead to 16-9 with less than a minute left in the third quarter.
Early in the fourth quarter, senior defensive end Craig Roh (Scottsdale, Ariz./Chaparral) sacked Martinez deep in the backfield to retreat the Cornhuskers from field goal range, forcing a punt back to the Maize and Blue. On the first Michigan play, Nebraska hauled in its second interception of the contest. The Cornhuskers then went 47 yards on three plays to score their second touchdown of the game, extending the advantage to 23-9 midway through the final period.
On Michigan's next possession, Nebraska picked off its third pass of the game from Bellomy with seven minutes left in the contest. The Cornhuskers gained a couple key first downs en route to running out the remaining time left in the contest.
The Wolverines will head to Minneapolis, Minn., next Saturday (Nov. 3) to take on the Minnesota Golden Gophers for the battle of the Little Brown Jug at 11 a.m. CDT.
Contact: Justin Dickens (734) 763-4423