Huskers commit five turnovers, fall to Spartans 41-28

Ameer Abdullah awaits a kickoff in the first quarter.

Ameer Abdullah awaits a kickoff in the first quarter.

Story and photos by C.L. Sill, NewsNetNebraska

The Husker offense coughed up the ball five times, four on the ground and once through the air, en route to a 41-28 loss to Michigan State on Saturday.

In a game that will likely decide who represents the Legends Division in the Big Ten Championship, Michigan State fed off Nebraska mishaps and cruised to victory despite the Husker offense out gaining the Spartans on the ground as well as through the air.

A few positives

Nebraska put up 392 total yards, no simple task when facing the number one defense in the country. Ameer Abdullah ran for 123 yards and Tommy Armstrong Jr. threw for 143 and two touchdowns. But the offense routinely gave Michigan State the ball deep in Husker territory. The most devastating of the four first-half turnovers came with less than two minutes remaining in the half. The Huskers were down 13-7 and looked like they would go into the locker room with a very manageable deficit and a touch of momentum. Then on third-and-11 Armstrong Jr. fumbled at the husker 20 yard line and the Spartans recovered. They scored three plays later with 21 seconds remaining in the half.

Second half mishaps

Despite a third quarter surge punctuated by a 51 yard touchdown run courtesy of Imani Cross and a 38 yard touchdown catch hauled in by Kenny Bell, Nebraska couldn’t shake the turnover bug. Armstrong Jr. fumbled on the Husker one yard line with six minutes left in the third, killing whatever momentum remained and erasing the hope of a conference title. Michigan State turned Armstrong Jr.’s gift into a touchdown one play later, making it 24 points scored off Nebraska turnovers.

The Spartans pulled away in the fourth, deflating Nebraska entirely on a third-and-13 when Keith Mumphrey caught a 27 yard touchdown pass from Connor Cook, giving Michigan State a 34-21 lead. The Spartans added one more touchdown with 1:58 remaining to seal the deal.

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