Published Sunday, November 10, 2013 at 12:01 am / Updated at 11:45 pm
Notes: Huskers know task is tall against Spartans

ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Nebraska players headed for their buses Saturday night savoring the 17-13 win at Michigan, and senior cornerback Ciante Evans said the focus on Michigan State could wait at least until they returned home.

But Evans said the Huskers realize what the game with the Spartans means.

“We know that it's going to take everything we've got again,” he said.

Michigan State (8-1, 5-0) can eliminate every team except Minnesota from the Legends Division race by beating Nebraska (7-2, 4-1) Saturday at Memorial Stadium. The Huskers could keep alive their hopes of returning to the Big Ten championship game by beating the Spartans.

Nebraska is 2-0 against Michigan State since joining the Big Ten, including a 24-3 win in 2011 when the Spartans won the Legends Division.

MSU is coming off a bye week. The Spartans also are shooting down the talk that is already building about a possible Michigan State-Ohio State meeting in the Big Ten championship game.

“We talk about Nebraska and just Nebraska,” MSU linebacker Denicos Allen told the Detroit Free Press. “We can only control what happens next weekend. If we don't win, there won't be Ohio State-Michigan State.”

Comebacks nothing new

The game-winning drive against Michigan on Saturday brought back memories of NU fourth-quarter road comebacks last season at Michigan State and Northwestern. The Huskers also needed second-half comebacks in 2012 home wins over Wisconsin and Penn State.

And this year's team pulled off that stunning last-second win over Northwestern.

NU offensive lineman Andrew Rodriguez said those experiences helped as the Husker offense took over at its own 25-yard line and trailing 13-10 with 8:08 remaining against the Wolverines.

“Last year it seemed like we were always in that situation the last half of the season,” Rodriguez said. “We just had that desire and want-to, and we just didn't let it go.”

The difference Saturday from some of last season's comebacks was that Nebraska had a redshirt freshman at quarterback instead of a veteran like Taylor Martinez. That made Rodriguez take note of what Armstrong helped pull off.

“He's growing up,” Rodriguez said.

Shaking off fumble

Senior wide receiver Quincy Enunwa said his third-quarter fumble didn't have the negative impact on the team's psyche that he thought it might.

Enunwa had fought for a few extra yards, securing a first down, when Cameron Gordon popped the football loose. Michigan recovered on the NU 33-yard line. But the Huskers didn't get frustrated.

“Coach Bo came up to me and said, 'Just get them next time, man,' ” Enunwa said. “There was no yelling. Nobody was really upset.”

That reaction helped Enunwa bounce back. So did Nebraska's defense, which forced Michigan to attempt a 52-yard field goal that sailed wide left. He caught two passes for 28 yards on the next NU drive, and made two more catches for 16 yards on the game-winning possession.

* * *

Video: Nebraska coach Bo Pelini after the game:

Video: Nebraska quarterback Tommy Armstrong after the game:

Video: Nebraska I-back Ameer Abdullah after the game:

Video: Nebraska defensive end Randy Gregory after the game:

Video: Postgame analysis with Sam McKewon:

Contact the writer: Rich Kaipust    |   402-444-1042    |  

Rich Kaipust is a staff writer for The Omaha World-Herald and covers Nebraska football and some general assignment tasks, including the College World Series and U.S. Olympic Swim Trials.



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