ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Nebraska rode its Hail Mary high all the way from Lincoln last weekend to Ann Arbor this weekend, delivering Michigan its first loss in the Big House during coach Brady Hoke’s tenure.
The 17-13 victory came on the heels of a stellar defensive performance, sacking quarterback Devin Gardner seven times, and holding the Wolverines to minus-21 rushing yards -- the lowest rushing total by a Nebraska opponent since Troy State in 2001.
“I'm proud of that group of kids in the locker room. We're a little shorthanded right now but the character on that football team showed, they just fought until the end,” coach Bo Pelini said. “The way they played, they played with passion. … Guys rose to the occasion. And we talked all week about that, no matter the odds or where we were playing, we were going to play as a team and pick each other up.”
The win ramps up the implications for next weekend’s game against Michigan State. The Spartans sit one game in front the Cornhuskers and if Nebraska can pick up a win, the Huskers inch closer and closer to playing for the Big Ten championship.
The team that showed up against Michigan is one that seems more threatening to the Spartans than the Nebraska that lost to Minnesota less than a month ago. And Pelini, who is 18-4 at Nebraska during November, has a group that could be primed to go on a run this month.
Quarterback Tommy Armstrong Jr. led a 75-yard, fourth-quarter drive to put Nebraska up by four. On a fourth-and-2 he converted a 26-yard pass to Kenny Bell while Ameer Abdullah took the pressure off for the run game.
And the Nebraska defense followed that up with its own standup performance, holding Gardner and the Michigan offense from advancing more than 16 yards and effectively ending the game.
“That's a great feeling, but we have to move on to next week,” Armstrong said. “This was a great win. It was a tough win. It was a team win, and our defense got us a bunch of stops. They played the best ball they've ever played.”