=== Martinez throws game-winning TD, Nebraska defeats Michigan State ===
East Lansing, MI (Sports Network) - Taylor Martinez found Jamal Turner all
alone in the end zone with just six seconds left to lift No. 21 Nebraska past
Michigan State, 28-24, on Saturday.
After trailing 24-14 for most of the fourth quarter, Martinez broke off a 35-
yard touchdown run with just over seven minutes remaining to pull within
The Cornhuskers' defense was able to force a Spartans' punt, but Nebraska
could not convert on 4th-and-9 and gave it back to Michigan State.
The defense came up big for the Cornhuskers once again and the Spartans were
forced to punt to give Nebraska (7-2, 4-1 Big Ten) one last chance.
Following a touchback, Martinez connected with Quincy Enunwa down the right
sideline for a 22-yard gain before hooking up with Kyler Reed for a 38-yard
catch-and-run to put the ball on the Michigan State 20.
On a crucial 3rd-and-10, Martinez's pass fell incomplete, but the Spartans
were flagged for pass interference to give the Cornhuskers a fresh set of
downs at the MSU 5.
Martinez's pass on first down was incomplete, but the shifty quarterback found
Turner all alone near the back left corner of the end zone for the win.
"It was a great call by Coach (Offensive Coordinator Tim) Beck. I can't
believe that we won the game like that; I've been dreaming about this my whole
life," Turner said. "It was the same play we called last week and I lost the
ball in the lights and missed the touchdown, but Beck came back and called it
this week and I was able to score the winning touchdown.
With the victory Nebraska takes over first place in the Big Ten Legends
division. The Cornhuskers own the tiebreaker after defeating Michigan, which
is also 4-1 in the Big Ten, last week.
"We think we're the best in the Big Ten; we're not going to be stopped. We're
going to keep going until we accomplish what we want to accomplish, and that's
the Big Ten Championship. It doesn't matter how much we're down by - 20, 30
points - we're going to keep fighting until we win the game," Turner said.
Martinez finished the game just 16-for-36 passing for 160 yards, two
touchdowns and three interceptions, but it was on the ground where he really
made a difference. He ran for 205 yards and two scores on 17 carries and
Ameer Abdullah added 110 yards on 22 totes for the Cornhuskers.
Le'Veon Bell carried the ball 36 times for 188 yards and two touchdowns and
Andrew Maxwell threw for 123 yards and a score despite completing just 9-
of-27 passes. Darqueeze Dennard had two interceptions for the Spartans (5-5
2-4), who lost in November for the first time in eight tries.
"Tough game, very tough game, maybe one of the toughest games I've experienced
here. I thought we had every opportunity to win the football game," Michigan
State head coach Mike Dantonio said. "Whether that plays out on the field,
whether that's some kind of way; I'm not sure how at times. We got them
fourth-and-10 at the end of the game. The game's over if we stop them there
with the first down, last series, game's over."
Earlier, Bell's 11-yard touchdown run gave Michigan State a 7-0 lead in the
first quarter. Bell started to his left, but cut it back to the middle, broke
a tackle and lunged for the end zone.
The Cornhuskers came back to tie the game on their next drive when Martinez
hit Abdullah with a 2-yard touchdown pass. Earlier in the drive, Martinez
broke a 59-yard run down the right sideline but was stopped on the Michigan
State 4. Abdullah was stood up on first and second down before Martinez tossed
it to him in the flat for the score.
After Brett Maher missed a 30-yard field goal for Nebraska, the Spartans
needed just four plays to take the lead once again at 14-7. Bell broke a 40-
yard run up the middle, but a 15-yard penalty brought it back to Nebraska's
46. On the next play, Maxwell faked the handoff to Bell and delivered a strike
to Tony Lippett for a 46-yard touchdown pass.
The teams traded punts before Martinez broke a 71-yard touchdown run to knot
it up once again. Martinez took the shotgun snap and broke to his left, and
Kenny Bell delivered a key block on the edge to give Martinez a clean lane
down the sideline. The quarterback raced all the way to the end zone and the
teams entered the break tied at 14-14.
Michigan State's opening drive in the second half stalled at the Nebraska 7
and Dan Conroy booted it through from 25 yards out to give the Spartans a
Dennard picked off Martinez with just over three minutes left in the third and
returned it 30 yard to the Nebraska 38. Eight plays later, Bell bulled his way
in from 1-yard out to put the Spartans up 24-14.
Nebraska is 7-0 all-time against Michigan State ... The Cornhuskers outgained
MSU 473-361 in total offense and 313-238 on the ground.
11/03 23:38:47 ET