The Michigan Wolverines moved to 6-0 on the 2021 season with a 32-29 victory on the road against the Nebraska Cornhuskers on Saturday night.
Below, we recapped everything that happened during Saturday night’s game and the final box score.
The Cornhuskers won the opening coin toss and elected to defer, putting the Michigan offense on the field to start the game.
The Wolverines would go three and out on their first drive, while Nebraska used a few big plays to get all the way down to the Michigan 4-yard line. Huskers head coach Scott Frost elected to keep his offense on the field on 4th and 2, but Michigan defense was able to keep them short of the sticks to take over on downs.
Nebraska outgained Michigan 98-60 in the first quarter, but the Wolverines and Huskers would trade punts as the quarter ended in a 0-0. Quarterback Cade McNamara struggled to start the game, going 4-for-9 for 45 yards. Michigan rushed for 15 yards on seven attempts in the opening 15 minutes.
Michigan was able to limit Nebraska to 10 yards on the ensuing drive, which was capped off by a highlight-reel interception from junior defensive back Daxton Hill. That gave the Wolverines the ball on the Huskers’ 35-yard line. They would have to settle for a 35-yard field goal from senior Jake Moody, which opened the scoring and gave the Wolverines a 3-0 lead with 9:52 to play in the second quarter.
After forcing another Nebraska punt, Michigan put together an 11-play, 90-yard drive that ended in a 21-yard field goal from Moody. The scoring drive was headlined by a pair of reviews from the officiating crew. The first was a third-and-1 run where Hassan Haskins picked up the first down but was marked two yards short. It went the Wolverines’ way and followed it up with a 48-yard pass to junior wideout Mike Sainristil. Haskins had a touchdown overturned at the one-foot line after McNamara’s knee was ruled down on the handoff, which resulted in settling for the field goal. Michigan would lead 6-0 with 3:19 to play in the quarter.
The Wolverines forced another Nebraska punt before the end of the half and closed out the half on an 11-play, 76-yard drive capped off by a Haskins three-yard touchdown run. Michigan went into the locker room up 13-0 over the Cornhuskers.
The Nebraska offense took the field to start the second half and took the ball down the field quickly. A 46-yard pass from Huskers quarterback Adrian Martinez to tight end Austin Allen helped the home team trim the deficit to 13-7 with 12:49 to play in the third quarter. The scoring drive went 75 yards in six plays. The Wolverines would follow that up by going three-and-out on offense. The defense held up and forced another Nebraska punt, but it was muffed by returner A.J. Henning. However, “joint possession” was ruled on the play and the ball would stay with Michigan, avoiding disaster.
Michigan moved past the near-blunder with as good of an offensive drive as they’ve had all season. The Wolverines were able to put the ball in the endzone on a 10-play, 91-yard drive that was headlined by some timely calls from offensive coordinator Josh Gattis and critical plays from Haskins and senior wide receiver Daylen Baldwin. A two-point conversion went awry as Michigan took a 19-7 lead with 3:36 to go in the third quarter.
Nebraska answered right back with Martinez’s 41-yard touchdown pass to running back Rahmir Johnson on a five-play, 75-yard drive. The Cornhuskers trimmed the deficit to 19-14 with 1:18 to go in the third.
The next sequence of plays was disastrous for Michigan. McNamara’s first interception of the season came at a costly time with the Huskers taking over on the Wolverines’ 13-yard line. Nebraska scored on the next play on a 13-yard pass from Martinez to Levi Falck. A two-point conversion try was successful, which gave Nebraska a 22-19 lead and the first deficit Michigan has faced all season.
Michigan punched back to start the fourth quarter with a 10-play, 75-yard drive that was ended by a 29-yard touchdown run from sophomore back Blake Corum. This helped the Wolverines take the lead back at 26-22 with 11:21 to play following the extra point.
The back-and-forth nature of the game continued into the late stages of the game. Nebraska took the lead back on a five-yard touchdown run from Martinez to end an 8-play, 75-yard scoring drive. The Cornhuskers would lead 29-26 with 7:08 to go in the contest.
Haskins’ big night continued on the following drive with a run that will go on his career highlight reel, which helped Michigan get back into scoring territory.
Michigan would take the ball down the field 69 yards in nine plays, but had to settle for a 31-yard field goal from Moody to tie the game at 29-29 with three minutes to play in the game.
The Wolverines defense was gassed throughout the second half but made a huge play on the next drive. Fifth-year safety Brad Hawkins stripped and recovered a fumble from Martinez to give Michigan the ball back with 1:45 to go. Moody booted a 39-yard field goal after a failed J.J. McCarthy read option on third down to help the Wolverines take the lead back at 32-29 with 1:24 to play.
The Wolverine defense held tough on the final drive with big plays from Hill and defensive back Gemon Green. An unsportsmanlike penalty on Hill backed Michigan up 15 yards, but the victory formation was all that was needed to move to 6-0 on the year.
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