Nebraska football writer Parker Gabriel offers his extra points from Nebraska's 56-10 loss at Michigan.
Turning point: The way Nebraska head coach tells it, the Huskers might not have competed with No. 19 Michigan on this day regardless. But what looked like a touchdown from Adrian Martinez to JD Spielman tuned into an interception when the ball was batted at the line of scrimmage.
Six plays later, Nebraska trailed 7-0 instead of leading 7-0. It was all downhill from there.
It was over when: It’s hard not to say it was over when the Huskers arrived at the Big House, but let’s push at least past kickoff. NU had nothing going offensively or defensively, but finally stopped the Wolverines deep in their own territory and forced a potentially field-flipping punt. Tyjon Lindsey tried to play it off a bounce, fumbled it and UM recovered at the NU 35. That drive only turned into three points — and a 23-0 Wolverines lead — but it felt like it killed any shot the Huskers had.
Quotable: Nebraska head coach Scott Frost, when asked if he knew before the season just how big the gap was between his team and the upper crust of the Big Ten.
“Yeah, I knew we had a lot of work to do. We’re not giving up. We’re going to get this thing right. They brought us in here to get it right and we’re going to get it right. We knew it was a big job because there’s just so much that had to be fixed and changed. It doesn’t show up when you’re playing teams that aren’t all the way there. Michigan, they’re a top-25 team. I don’t know where they fit in that, but there’s no question about that and we’re not there yet.”
Game ball: Michigan junior linebacker Devin Bush. Bush looked like the best player on the field at times Saturday. He played hard the whole way, ran down Husker running backs in the third quarter well after the game had been decided, and never let up. All six of his tackles were solo (two for loss) and he added a sack. UM finished with 14 TFLs and four sacks, and Bush was at the middle of the action.
Game ball: Michigan senior running back Karan Higdon. Higdon probably could have rushed for as many yards as he wanted had his workday not ended early. The senior had 136 yards and a touchdown (11.3 yards per attempt), all before halftime. He might not be the most high-profile back in the Big Ten, but he’s a load.
Notable performance: Nebraska junior linebacker Mohamed Barry didn’t get to play much against Troy after he was ejected for targeting early on, but he filled up the stat sheet against Michigan. The Georgia native finished with a game-high 11 stops (three for loss) and added a sack. He’s having a really good individual season so far and it’s been overshadowed by the three losses.
Bonus performance: Mother Nature. The Nebraska fans that traveled to Ann Arbor didn’t get to see much good on the football field, but at least it was a darn-fine autumn afternoon in the low 60s at the Big House.
Deep connection: Martinez’s first completion of the day was a 32-yarder to Stanley Morgan on which Martinez scrambled to his right and threw basically a jump ball to Morgan. Not the prettiest thing, but it’s the kind of playmaking ability from both that NU hopes to see much more of over the next nine weeks.
Numbers for the road
22: More plays run by Michigan (76) than Nebraska (54). The Huskers can’t afford that given the tempo they want to play with.
10: Penalties for the Huskers, bringing their three-game total to 31. They are averaging nearly 84 penalty yards per game.
7: Chunk plays, defined as passes of 15 or more and rushes of 10 or more, for NU, which had 15 against Colorado and nine against Troy.
4, 5: One of the oddest stats you’ll see in a weird game: Both teams’ leading receiver by catches finished with four catches for 5 yards. Yeah. JD Spielman and Grant Perry finished with a combined eight grabs for 10 yards. Go figure.
5.0: Difference in yards per rush between Michigan (6.3) and Nebraska (1.3).
8: Turnovers through three games for NU.
5: Pass breakups for Husker sophomore corner Dicaprio Bootle, a career best. Bootle has seven on the season.