Published Saturday, November 3, 2012 at 12:01 am / Updated at 11:34 pm
Nebraska-Michigan State: Quarter by quarter

First Quarter

Brett Maher: After Nebraska starts the game with three ugly incompletions, the Husker punter shanks a 16-yarder to put Michigan State at the NU 41 on its first drive.

Dan Conroy: The Spartans’ drive stalls because of a holding penalty, and MSU’s kicker pulls a 49-yard field goal to the left.

Ameer Abdullah: The sophomore Husker running back, starting in place of Rex Burkhead, breaks off two runs of 15 yards to move NU into Michigan State territory.

Taylor Martinez: After a holding penalty, Nebraska has second-and-long from the MSU 33. Martinez rolls right and throws a jump pass right into the arms of Kurtis Drummond.

Ciante Evans: On the Spartans’ ensuing drive, NU gives up 30 yards in pass interference penalties. Evans’ flag is more costly because it comes on third-and-11 and gives Michigan State a first down at Nebraska’s 11.

Le’Veon Bell: The Spartan running back quickly cuts into a hole and beats a Nebraska safety to the goal-line for an 11-yard touchdown and a 7-0 MSU lead.

Martinez: Rips off a 59-yard run on a zone read play, getting chased down at the Spartan 4-yard line. Three plays later, he checks into a swing pass to Abdullah, who scores a 2-yard touchdown. The game is tied at 7 after one quarter.

Second Quarter

Martinez: Hits Tim Marlowe for 15 yards on third-and-six. Then he draws a roughing-the-passer penalty to extend the Huskers’ drive.

Andrew Rodriguez: Picks up two false start penalties on third down. Nebraska’s able to overcome both.

Martinez: With a 33-yard threaded pass to Kenny Bell on third down, he eclipses Eric Crouch to break NU’s career record for total offense. On a third-and-six from MSU’s 13, he throws a perfect slant pass to Bell, who lets the ball hit his belly — and then the ground.

Maher: Misses a 30-yard field goal, kicking the ball much too hard and leaving it out to the right.

Le’Veon Bell: On the Spartans’ ensuing possession, he busts through the NU defense on third-and-one, tying his longest run of the year with a 40-yard gallop.

Tony Lippett: The lanky sophomore wide receiver isn’t remotely open on a deep post, but MSU quarterback Andrew Maxwell heaves it up anyway — and hits pay dirt. Lippett catches a 46-yard touchdown between three Huskers. It’s Michigan State’s second-longest pass play of the year, and the Spartans lead 14-7.

Martinez: He follows his first long run with a better one: A 71-yard sprint around right end after he faked the ball to Abdullah. Michigan State players take bad angles and Kenny Bell lands a clean block to help spring him. The Huskers and Spartans head into halftime tied at 14.

Third Quarter

Le’Veon Bell: Breaks a 26-yard run to move the Spartans into Husker territory. Safety Daimion Stafford misses a tackle.

Nick Hill: Le’Veon Bell’s backup at tailback breaks runs of nine and 21 yards on consecutive plays. Stafford takes a bad angle on the longer of the two runs.

Conroy: Finishes off the drive with a 25-yard field goal to give Michigan State a 17-14 lead.

Martinez: On NU’s first drive, he has no time to throw and takes a 19-yard intentional grounding penalty.

Stafford: Forces a fumble from Le’Veon Bell by punching the ball loose at midfield. Nebraska linebacker Will Compton recovers, but the Huskers can’t do anything with it.

Martinez: After Nebraska gets its initial first down of the half, offensive coordinator Tim Beck dials up a deep play-action pass. Martinez throws long and behind receiver Quincy Enunwa, and MSU corner Darqueze Dennard intercepts the pass. He returns it 27 yards into Husker territory.

Stafford: After the Spartans move to the NU 8, the Husker defense appears to force a third-and-goal when Stafford is flagged for a late hit out of bounds. Michigan State has the ball at the Nebraska 5 to start the fourth quarter.

Fourth Quarter

Le’Veon Bell: The bruising junior tailback powers through the line and gains the one yard he needed to put the Spartans up 24-14 less than a minute into the fourth quarter.

Jeremiah Sirles: Martinez fumbles. Somehow, Isaiah Lewis can’t pick up the loose football. Neither can Martinez, nor a couple other MSU defenders. Sirles falls on it to keep the drive alive.

Dennard: He stays in the flat and catches Martinez off guard. The pass is intended for tight end Ben Cotton, but Dennard steps in front and returns it for an apparent touchdown. A penalty wipes out the score, but the interception stands.

Martinez: The speedy quarterback beats Michigan State to the sideline on a QB keeper, then finds a crease and rumbles into the end zone for a 35-yard score, pulling NU within 24-21 with 7:02 left.

Justin Blatchford: Maybe he gets a hand on the ball. Maybe he doesn’t. Tough to tell. But clearly, the NU defensive back obstructs the vision of tight end Dion Sims, who can’t haul in a third-down throw. The Spartans have to punt.

Max Bullough and Lewis: Enunwa corrals the football, but he’s well short of the first down marker on the fourth down pass play. The MSU defenders make sure he doesn’t get any extra yards.

Enunwa: The junior receiver leaps off the ground and pulls in a 22-yard catch along the sideline, the first play of Nebraska’s final possession. He stops the clock with just more than a minute left.

Martinez and Kyler Reed: The senior tight end finds the weak spot in Michigan State’s defense on fourth-and-11. Martinez makes the throw. By the time Reed gets forced out of bounds, he’s gained 38 yards and Nebraska has a first down at the MSU 20.

Jamal Turner: He finds some room and hauls in a 5-yard pass from Martinez, making an extra effort to get as many steps in bounds as he can while securing the football. Game-winner. Nebraska leads 28-24 lead with six seconds left.

Contact the writer: Sam McKewon    |   402-219-3790    |  

Sam McKewon covers Nebraska football for The World-Herald. Got a tip, question or rant? Good. Email him. Follow him on Twitter. Call him.



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