Scores

Final

(20) Nebraska 28

(7-2, 4-1 Big Ten)

Michigan State 24

(5-5, 2-4 Big Ten)

Coverage: ABC/ESPN2

3:30 PM ET, November 3, 2012

Spartan Stadium, EAST LANSING, MI

1 2 3 4 T
#20NEB 7 7 0 1428
MSU 7 7 3 724

Top Performers

Passing: T. Martinez (NEB) - 160 YDS, 2 TD, 3 INT

Rushing: T. Martinez (NEB) - 17 CAR, 205 YDS, 2 TD

Receiving: T. Lippett (MSU) - 1 REC, 46 YDS, 1 TD

Late TD pushes Nebraska past Michigan State

Associated Press

EAST LANSING, Mich. -- Taylor Martinez lofted a pass up the right sideline toward Kenny Bell. Darqueze Dennard was back in coverage, the ball fell incomplete -- and a flag was thrown for pass interference.

"The only thing I can tell you is he was holding my left arm down," Bell said. "Was I expecting a flag? No, just because we don't get too many flags that often. I mean, Big Ten is tough on the perimeter as far as how physical it gets, and they're pretty lenient, so no, I wasn't expecting it."

Nebraska took advantage of that Michigan State penalty, beating the Spartans 28-24 when Martinez threw a 5-yard touchdown pass to Jamal Turner with 6 seconds left Saturday night. The call on Dennard gave the Cornhuskers (No. 20 BCS, No. 21 AP) first down at the 5 with 17 seconds left -- they would have had to settle for a tying field goal attempt if the incompletion had stood.

Turner's touchdown capped a thrilling comeback in which the Cornhuskers scored two touchdowns in the final 7:02. Nebraska (7-2, 4-1) remains tied with Michigan atop the Big Ten Legends Division -- and beat the Wolverines head to head.

"I can't believe that I won the game," said Turner, a sophomore. "I've been dreaming about this my whole life."

It was the third time this season in conference play that Nebraska rallied from a double-digit deficit in the second half.

Le'Veon Bell ran for 188 yards and two touchdowns for Michigan State (5-5, 2-4).

Martinez rushed for 205 yards and two touchdowns, becoming Nebraska's career leader in total offense. He also threw three interceptions, but was still standing at the end.

"Early on in the game, I took a few shots to my head," Martinez said. "We just keep fighting."

Nebraska is unbeaten in seven meetings with Michigan State, but the Cornhuskers never led this one until the end, after they took over at their own 20 with 1:20 remaining and went 80 yards in nine plays.

Martinez kept the drive alive with a 38-yard completion to Kyler Reed to the Michigan State 20 on fourth-and-10. On third down from the 20, Martinez threw toward Kenny Bell, but Dennard was there to reach his right arm out and break up the pass.

It looked like Dennard turned around in plenty of time to make a play on the ball, but he may have impeded Bell's progress with the arm. The flag came out, giving Nebraska a new set of downs.

"There are a lot of calls I would like to take a look at," Michigan State defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi said. "Who am I to judge? It didn't look good."

Martinez found Turner on an out pattern at the left edge of the end zone.

Dennard's penalty wasn't the only one that cost Michigan State. With the score 24-14, Dennard intercepted a pass at his own 4 and weaved his way back for what looked like a long touchdown return. It was nullified by a personal foul during the return on Michigan State's Johnny Adams.

"It's just a bad penalty to have, any way you cut it," Spartans coach Mark Dantonio said. "There were too many unforced penalties on our end that hurt us."

The Spartans ended up having to punt, and Martinez made it 24-21 with his 35-yard touchdown run with 7:02 to play. Less than a minute later, Michigan State was punting again.

The Spartans stopped Nebraska on fourth down near midfield with 3:12 remaining, but the Cornhuskers had timeouts remaining and forced one more punt -- on fourth-and-2 from the Nebraska 39. After a low snap, Mike Sadler kicked the ball into the end zone, giving Nebraska plenty of breathing room to start the winning drive.

Martinez became Nebraska'a career leader in total offense, passing 2001 Heisman Trophy winner Eric Crouch with a dynamic first half. With Michigan State ahead 7-0 in the first quarter, Martinez faked a handoff to Ameer Abdullah, who was dropped immediately in the backfield.

Martinez kept the ball and took off for a 59-yard run, which set up his 2-yard touchdown pass to Abdullah.

The Spartans took the lead again on a 46-yard scoring pass from Andrew Maxwell to Tony Lippett, who made the catch with three Nebraska defenders in the area. Martinez answered again, getting a nice block from Kenny Bell and turning up the right sideline for a 71-yard touchdown run that made it 14-all in the second quarter.

With the Spartans ahead 17-14 late in the third, Dennard intercepted Martinez's long pass and returned it 30 yards to the Nebraska 38. Bell scored on a 1-yard run 40 seconds into the fourth.

Martinez, a junior, now has 8,166 yards of total offense. Crouch had 7,915.

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Team Stat Comparison

 
NEB
MSU
1st Downs2319
Total Yards473361
Passing160123
Rushing313238
Penalties9-729-100
3rd Down Conversions6-146-15
4th Down Conversions2-30-0
Turnovers32
Possession28:2831:32

Passing Leaders

NebraskaC/ATTYDSAVGTDINT
Martinez16/361604.423
Michigan StateC/ATTYDSAVGTDINT
Maxwell9/271234.610

Rushing Leaders

NebraskaCARYDSAVGTDLG
Martinez1720512.1271
Abdullah221105.0015
Michigan StateCARYDSAVGTDLG
Bell361885.2240
Hill23015.0021

Receiving Leaders

NebraskaRECYDSAVGTDLG
Reed24120.5038
Enunwa33712.3022
Michigan StateRECYDSAVGTDLG
Lippett14646.0146
Fowler3289.3011

Scoring Summary

FIRST QUARTERNEBMSU
TD04:28Le'Veon Bell 11 Yd Run (Dan Conroy Kick) 07
TD02:07Ameer Abdullah 2 Yd Pass From Taylor Martinez (Brett Maher Kick) 77
SECOND QUARTERNEBMSU
TD06:56Tony Lippett 46 Yd Pass From Andrew Maxwell (Dan Conroy Kick) 714
TD03:11Taylor Martinez 71 Yd Run (Brett Maher Kick) 1414
THIRD QUARTERNEBMSU
FG10:21Dan Conroy 25 Yd 1417
FOURTH QUARTERNEBMSU
TD14:20Le'Veon Bell 1 Yd Run (Dan Conroy Kick) 1424
TD07:02Taylor Martinez 35 Yd Run (Brett Maher Kick) 2124
TD00:06Jamal Turner 5 Yd Pass From Taylor Martinez (Brett Maher Kick) 2824