U of M: Home Win Streak Comes to End in Loss to Huskers
The University of Michigan football team could not hold on to its fourth-quarter lead, falling to Nebraska, 17-13, on Saturday (Nov. 9) at Michigan Stadium.
The Wolverines led 13-10 with a little more than eight minutes to play, but Nebraska engineered a 14-play, 75-yard drive that spanned more than six minutes to take the lead, as Ameer Abdullah scored on a five-yard touchdown run with 2:03 to play. It is Michigan's first home loss since 2010.
Senior/junior quarterback Devin Gardner (Detroit, Mich./Inkster) went 18-of-27 for 196 yards and one touchdown. Sophomore tight end Devin Funchess (Farmington Hills, Mich./Harrison) was the team's leading receiver, hauling in six receptions for 66 yards and the team's lone touchdown, a five-yard strike in the third quarter. Fifth-year senior linebacker Cameron Gordon (Detroit, Mich./Inkster) had eight tackles, a forced fumble and a sack, while sophomore linebacker James Ross III (Orchard Lake, Mich./St. Mary's Prep) added eight tackles.
After the teams traded punts on their opening possessions, Nebraska jumped out to a quick 10-0 lead through the end of the first quarter on a 21-yard field goal by Pat Smith and an eight-yard touchdown run by tailback Abdullah. The Cornhuskers stifled Michigan during the first half, allowing only 47 yards of total offense on three drives.
The Wolverines responded to get on the board with a field goal of their own, using a 13-play, 66-yard drive to bring the score to 10-3 with 11:47 left in the second quarter. Fifth-year senior Brendan Gibbons (West Palm Beach, Fla./Cardinal Newman) connected on a 27-yard field goal, finishing off a drive that lasted more than six minutes.
Michigan reversed the field off a great special teams play, as junior punter Matt Wile (San Diego, Calif./Francis Parker) booted a 69-yard punt all the way down to the Nebraska three-yard line. The Michigan defense stood tall, not yielding a single yard on the ensuing Nebraska possession, getting the ball back on the Cornhusker side of the field after a punt. The Wolverines opted to go for it on a fourth-and-four, but Gardner was sacked, turning the ball over on downs, sending U-M into halftime down, 10-3.
The Wolverines had new life on the opening drive of the second half, knotting the score at 10-10 on a five-yard touchdown pass from Gardner to Funchess. U-M went 75 yards in 10 plays, with 44 of those yards coming on two of the first four plays of the drive: a 25-yard pass from Gardner to fifth-year senior running back Fitzgerald Toussaint (Youngstown, Ohio/Liberty) and a 19-yard pass from Gardner to freshman tight end Jake Butt (Pickerington, Ohio/Pickerington North). The Wolverines faced only one third down on that drive.
The Michigan defense forced the game's first turnover in the middle of the third, a fumble that was forced by Gordon and recovered by sophomore/freshman Chris Wormley (Toledo, Ohio/Whitmer). However, the Wolverines did not take advantage, as Wile missed a 52-yard field goal with the wind at his back.
Special teams then played a factor again, as Nebraska's Jordan Westerkamp muffed a punt that was recovered on one bounce by sophomore Dennis Norfleet (Martin Luther King) at the Nebraska 25-yard line with 10:03 to play in the game. U-M stalled and settled for a 40-yard field goal make by Gibbons with 8:08 to play to go up, 13-10.
The Cornhuskers responded with a long drive and took the lead for good with 2:03 to play. Facing a fourth-and-two from the Michigan 31-yard line, Nebraska elected not to try a field goal attempt into the wind, instead converting for a 26-yard gain all the way to the Michigan five-yard line. Three players later on a third-and-goal, Nebraska quarterback Tommy Armstrong Jr. ran an option left, pitching the ball to Abdullah, who dove into the end zone for the touchdown.
The Wolverines had one final chance . On a fourth-and-five from the their own 41-yard line, Gardner's pass slipped through the arms of senior Drew Dileo (Greenwell Springs, La./Parkview Baptist).