Last Updated: Oct 29, 2012 7:17 PM
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Nebraska moved into a first place tie with Michigan in the Big Ten Legends division with a 23-9 victory Saturday night in Lincoln.
The Cornhuskers outgained the Wolverines 326-188 in total yards, yet the game was still in doubt into the fourth quarter with Nebraska holding a 16-9 edge despite dominating most of the play.
Nebraska running back Ameer Abdullah ran for 101 yards and a touchdown in the absence of injured starter Rex Burkhead. Abdullah toted the rock 24 times, perhaps none more important than his 12-yard dash in the fourth quarter that essentially put the game out of reach. With Burkhead banged up for most of the season, Abdullah has stepped up in a big way, rushing for 716 yards and 8 scores on the year.
Turning Point of the Game
The Wolverines were dealt a deadly blow when their all-everything quarterback Denard Robinson injured his throwing elbow late in the first half, and did not return. He spent the second half from the sidelines looking on as freshman backup Russell Bellomy struggled to move the offense (52 yards in second half) and tossed three costly interceptions.
Robinson is the unquestioned centerpiece of the Michigan offense. He's rushed for 946 yards and passed for 1,319 more. Without him the team has little chance to move the ball, which explains why the team produced a season-low 188 yards from scrimmage in Lincoln.
Impact On Big Ten Title Race
With the win, Nebraska now controls their own destiny in the Big Ten Legends division. The Huskers and Wolverines are deadlocked with 3-1 conference records, but hold the head-to-head edge. It's as simple as this: if Nebraska wins out over Michigan State, Penn State Minnesota and Iowa, they'll be in the Big Ten title game.
Michigan needs to win out (Minnesota, Northwestern, Iowa and Ohio State) and hope for a Nebraska loss to punch their ticket to the conference title tilt.
Despite the loss, the Wolverines still holds a 4-3-1 series edge on the Cornhuskers. Saturday's contest lost a little bit of its luster once Robinson went to the sidelines. The game didn't live up to their exciting match ups in the 2005 Alamo Bowl (32-28 Nebraska win) or the 1985 Fiesta Bowl (27-23 Michigan), but there was still plenty on the line. And Saturday's outcome just might determine this year's Big Ten champ.
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