EAST LANSING, Mich. — It’s taken eight games, but the Michigan State Spartans finally defeated the Nebraska Cornhuskers for the first time ever on Saturday, and by doing so, they have all but guaranteed a spot in the Big Ten championship game.
The Nebraska Cornhuskers (7-3, 4-2) turned the ball over five times in the 41-28 loss, which lead to 24 points for the 16th-ranked Spartans (9-1, 6-0), who have a two-game lead in the Big Ten Legends Division.
The Cornhuskers turned the ball over on their first two possessions of the game, and the Spartans were only able to capitalize with a 45-yard field goal by freshman Michael Geiger.
Michigan State took a 20-7 lead into halftime, but came out flat to start the second half as they punted on their first three possessions. The Cornhuskers outscored the Spartans in the third quarter 14-7 — Imani Cross 51-yard touchdown run and a Kenny Bell 38-yard touchdown reception from Tommy Armstrong Jr. — and went into the fourth quarter only down 27-21.
In the fourth, the Spartans put together two drives that lasted longer than five minutes, and capped both of them off with touchdowns — Keith Mumphery 27-yard touchdown reception and a Jeremy Langford 37-yard touchdown run — and have continued their cruise in the drivers seat towards a trip to Indianapolis.
Nebraska scored in the final seconds to shorten the Spartans’ lead, but their early-game bloopers were too much to recover from.
Nebraska running back Ameer Abdulla ran 22 times for 123 yards — seventh straight 100-plus yard game — and became the first individual rusher to rush for more than 100 yards against Michigan State. The Cornhuskers became the first team to rush for more than 100 yards against the first-ranked Spartan defense.
MSU can clinch the division with a win on the road vs. Northwestern next week or a loss by Minnesota in either of its last two games.