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Nebraska Football: Turnovers Finally Sink the Huskers in Loss to Michigan State

Nebraska v Michigan State Photo by Mike Mulholland/Getty Images

Michigan State had a good chance of not winning a conference game this season.

In the spirit of the holiday season, Nebraska decided to help MSU out.

As far as games have gone for Nebraska, this was likely the most uninspired NU looked all season. Part of me wondered if the grass surface had something to do with it. Both the offense and the defense looked a step slow.

Or we could give some credit to Michigan State. The Spartans’ offensive game plan was effective in that MSU kept the Husker defenders off balance. The Spartans hit a couple big plays, and on a few of them it appeared that the Blackshirts were not clear on their assignments.

However, it comes back to the turnovers. In the game against Purdue, those turnovers did not come back to bite NU. That was not the case against Michigan State.

Nebraska lost the turnover battle by three. NU lost the game by three.

In this case, it was two interceptions and a fumble by starting quarterback Heinrich Haarberg. If it was not for a fortunate holding penalty on the MSU defense, then Haarberg would have had three interceptions with that third having negated the field goal NU hit right before the end of the first half to tie the game at 10-10.

To be fair, there will need to be a lot of criticism leveled at some Haarberg’s teammates. In particular, the wide receivers struggled getting open against man-to-man coverage.

And to be fair to those wide receivers, they are true freshmen and Alex Bullock.

It is also clear that while the defense played well, it may need to take the ball away in order for this team to win. That is especially true if the offense continues to give multiple gifts a game to the opponent.

It was a poorly played game, and Nebraska was right there at the end. It is a perfect opportunity to learn from this game tape.

It should be a good one.

A Few Game Notes

  • Nebraska held Michigan State to 63 rushing yards in the game, marking the eighth time in nine games the Huskers held their opponent under 100 rushing yards. The eight games with less than 100 rushing yards ties the 2009 defense for the most games holding an opponent under 100 yards this century. (1999 team held nine opponents under 100 rushing yards)
  • Nebraska did not allow a rushing touchdown to Michigan State. The Huskers have not allowed a rushing touchdown in four consecutive games, marking the first time since the first four games of the 2012 season that Nebraska has gone four straight games without allowing a rushing touchdown.
  • Luke Reimer finished with seven tackles in the game. His final tackle was the 275th of his career, as he became the seventh Husker to total 275 career tackles.
  • Michigan State converted a second-quarter red-zone trip into a touchdown. That touchdown ended a streak of seven consecutive opponent red-zone trips without a touchdown, including a first-quarter field goal by Michigan State.