Ameer Abdullah caught a five-yard touchdown pass from Tommy Armstrong with 2:03 remaining to lead Nebraska (7-2) to a hard-fought 17-13 victory over Michigan (6-3) in Ann Arbor.
The Cornhuskers rallied from a 13-10 deficit by driving 75 yards in 14 plays to hand Michigan its third loss in four games and the first for Wolverines head coach Brady Hoke in Michigan Stadium.
If one looked at the stat sheet, Michigan should never have been in the game. Nebraska’s swarming defense held the Wolverines to just 175 total yards, including negative 18 on the ground. But the Cornhuskers had troubles of their own on offense and couldn’t capitalize on the ineptness of the Wolverines. The score was knotted at 10 at the half and when Jordan Westerkamp muffed a punt at the Nebraska 26-yard line early in the fourth quarter, Michigan capitalized with a 40-yard field goal from Brendan Gibbons.
But this was Abdullah’s day to shine. The junior rushed for 105 yards and a touchdown on 27 carries and seemed to provide a key run whenever Nebraska needed it. Armstrong also got hot at the right time, hitting on five of seven passes on Big Red’s game-winning drive, including a big 26-yard completion to Kenny Bell on 4th and 2 that set the Huskers up inside the Nebraska five yard line. He finished 11 of 19 for 139 yards and one touchdown.
Michigan quarterback Devin Gardner was 18 of 27 for 196 yards and a touchdown, but he was sacked six times and he finished with minus 32 yards on the ground. The Wolverines got a grand total of 17 yards on 17 carries from their running backs.
The victory for Nebraska sets up a showdown next week with Michigan State for control of the Legends Division of the Big Ten. For all the fury over Bo Pelini’s job status, he could end up having the Cornhuskers right where they were supposed to be in the end.