Jim Harbaugh, Michigan’s coach, called Nebraska’s come-from-behind win over the Wolverines ninth-ranked victory “Clint Eastwood.”
With 1:44 remaining, Jake Moody made a field goal of 39 yards to give Michigan a win against Nebraska.
“It was a tremendous, tremendous game, incredible really,’ Harbaugh said after watching Nebraska come back from a 13-0 halftime deficit and take the lead only to see Michigan rally for the win with two late field goals. “We’re enjoying it, we’re enjoying the incredible.”
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Moody’s fourth field goal came after Wolverines defensive back Brad Hawkins forced Cornhuskers quarterback Adrian Martinez to fumble, returning it 19 yards to the Nebraska 18 to set up the game-winner.
Hawkins explained, “We practice pushing, pulling, striking the ball and even removing it.” Hawkins said that the moment of touching the ball and striking the ball was the breakthrough.
Martinez stated that he believed the play was finished when Hawkins stole the ball from him.
“I’m not going to stand up here and make excuses for myself,” Martinez said. I thought that the play was finished. When I saw myself standing as I do now, I thought that the play had ended. I’ve got to take care of the ball. This hurt our team.”
Michigan won the six first games of its 2016 season (6-0, Big Ten), for the first time since it began 9-0.
Nebraska (3-4, 1-3) has lost three games in four weeks to ranked teams — No. 6 Oklahoma on Sept. 18, No. 11 Michigan State two weeks ago and Michigan — by a total of 13 points. Since then, the Huskers have lost 14 consecutive games against ranked opposition. Nine of these losses were under Scott Frost.
“I can’t imagine the things happening to us all happening to us,” Frost said. Frost said, “I believed tonight was the night. We’ll get there. We’ve got a really good team. I’m so proud of them.”
Nebraska came storming back to take the lead in the third quarter after cornerback Deontai Williams picked off the first interception of Michigan quarterback Cade McNamara’s career.
Martinez hit Levi Faulk from 13 yards on a swing pass. Then, he ran the two point conversion to bring Nebraska up 22-19 going into the final period.
Michigan countered by a 10-play 75-yard drive captained by Blake Corum’s touchdown run for 29 yards. However, the Nebraska team responded with an eight-play 75-yard drive. Martinez was able to score at the 5, making the score 29-26.
Moody made a quick 31-yarder for the Wolverines to tie the score.
Michigan’s resilience in highly charged Memorial Stadium filled with 87,000 screaming Husker fans impressed Harbaugh.
Harbaugh stated, “In this context, that showed an awful lot of poise. “There’s no doubt that they wanted to storm the field, tear down the goalposts. Not on our guy’s watch tonight. This was really cool.
Nebraska scored on its first drive of the second half, with Martinez hitting tight end Austin Allen with a 46-yard touchdown pass and, after Michigan went up 19-7 on a Hassan Haskin’s 3-yard run, scored again on a Rahmir Johnson’s 41-yard reception.
Martinez explained, “When that first touchdown was achieved, the flood gates were opened.” These guys can score for us.
Martinez completed 18 of 28 passes with three touchdowns, an interception and a score.
Michigan’s Hassan Hawkins had 123 yards in rushing, two touchdowns and a three-yard dive which gave the Wolverines a 13-3 halftime advantage.
Michigan hadn’t trailed this season until Faulk’s touchdown gave Nebraska the lead. McNamara’s interception was just the second turnover of the year by the Wolverines.
Saturday’s win was Michigan’s first in Lincoln. In 1911, the Wolverines were tied with the Huskers at 6-6. They lost in Memorial Stadium to the Huskers in 2012.
Nebraska miscues returned to haunt the Huskers In addition to Martinez’s late fumble, Oliver Martin’s fair catch in the first trapped Nebraska at its 6. On the next play, Martinez threw an interception that led to Moody’s first field goal. Hawkins’ half-ending touchdown came on the play after a pass interference penalty on Nebraska’s JoJo Domann.
Ocr. Michigan hosts Northwestern 23.
On Saturday, Nebraska will play Minnesota.
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