LINCOLN, NE - OCTOBER 29: Running back Rex Burkhead #22 of the Nebraska Cornhuskers gets tripped up by linebacker Marcus Rush #44 of the Michigan State Spartans during their game at Memorial Stadium October 29, 2011 in Lincoln, Nebraska. (Photo by Eric Francis/Getty Images)

Michigan State Vs. Nebraska: Spartans Stumble Badly In 24-3 Loss

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Michigan State Vs. Nebraska Final Score: Spartans Run Over In 24-3 Loss To Cornhuskers

Did somebody get the license plate number on that Nebraska running back?

Tailback Rex Burkhead ran over the Michigan State defense for 127 yards and two touchdowns on 37 carries, leading the Cornhuskers to a 24-3 victory over the Spartans in Lincoln. Burkhead also added a 27-yard touchdown catch in a dominant performance against a formidable MSU defensive unit.

The loss could turn out to be a key blow for Michigan State. Not only do the Spartans now fall into what could be a four-way tie at the top of the Big Ten’s Legends Division with a 3-1 record, but if MSU and Nebraska remain deadlocked, the Cornhuskers will win the tiebreaker based on head-to-head results. That’s certainly a disappointment after the Spartans’ biggest win of the season last week over Wisconsin.

Michigan State’s offense just could not establish itself against Nebraska’s defense. Quarterback Kirk Cousins struggled from the start, throwing an interception on the Spartans’ first possession that set Nebraska up to take an early 7-0 lead.

Overall, Cousins threw for 87 yards, completing 11 of 27 passes. Obviously, that is not the sort of performance the Spartans needed from their senior quarterback in what could be MSU’s toughest road test of the season. But the Nebraska pass rush had a lot to do with that, getting in Cousins’ face all day and sacking him four times.

Michigan State had some success in the running game, but neither of the Spartans’ tailbacks could establish themselves. Le’Veon Bell ran for 58 yards on 12 carries, while Edwin Baker added 38 yards on 10 rushes. Again, not nearly the sort of production MSU needed to possess the ball and help keep an explosive Nebraska offense off the field. Of course, the running game was largely abandoned once the Spartans fell further behind.

There are few games Michigan State could win with only 187 yards of total offense. Beating what could be one of the best teams in the Big Ten certainly isn’t going to happen with that lack of production.

As mentioned, MSU drops to 3-1 in conference play and is currently tied with Michigan and Nebraska for first in the Legends Division. Iowa could join them and create a four-way tie if the Hawkeyes defeat Minnesota on Saturday.

The Spartans host Minnesota next week and will likely right themselves against the Golden Gophers. That will set up a showdown the following week with the Hawkeyes in Iowa City that could create some separation in the Legends Division.


Michigan State Vs. Nebraska Score: Cornhuskers Pulling Away To 24-3 Lead In 3rd Quarter

The Legends Division in the Big Ten is about to get pretty tight at the top. Nebraska has built on its seven-point halftime margin and built a 24-3 lead over Michigan State after three quarters of play in Lincoln.

The Spartans’ defense has no answer for Nebraska tailback Rex Burkhead. The junior has 111 yards and two touchdowns on 30 carries, as the Cornhuskers’ running game has asserted itself and taken control of the game.

With Burkhead’s performance, Nebraska quarterback Taylor Martinez really hasn’t had to do much else to help the offense, though he’s accounted for 105 yards of total offense. He and Burkhead connected on a 27-yard score just before the end of the third quarter.

Michigan State quarterback Kirk Cousins has struggled, preventing the Spartans from getting back into the game. His first-quarter interception led to Nebraska’s initial touchdown, and the Huskers’ defense hasn’t allowed Cousins to get into any sort of rhythm.

Cousins has completed only 8 of 22 passes for 69 yards as the third quarter ended. Five of those completions went to Keshawn Martin, who has 58 yards receiving thus far.

The running game has had moderate success, with Le’Veon Bell rushing for 58 yards. But it hasn’t been nearly enough to jumpstart the MSU offense. And as the Spartans fall further behind in this game, the passing game will have to take precedence.

Michigan State has the ball as the fourth quarter begins. But they will need to break out for a touchdown soon if they hope to get back into this game.


Michigan State Vs. Nebraska Score: Spartans Trail Cornhuskers 10-0 After 1st Quarter

Coming off their biggest win of the season last Saturday against Wisconsin, Michigan State is off to a slow start in another key Big Ten clash versus Nebraska. The Spartans trail the Cornhuskers 10-0 after one quarter of play in Lincoln.

MSU quarterback Kirk Cousins threw an interception on the sixth play of the game. Defensive back Lance Thorell picked Cousins off at midfield and returned the ball to the Spartans’ 25-yard line.

With a short field, Nebraska scored the first touchdown of the game on a seven-play drive. Tailback Rex Burkhead rushed for 18 yards on the drive, ending it with a one-yard scoring run.

On Nebraska’s third possession of the game, a 39-yard run by receiver Tim Marlowe moved the Cornhuskers to the MSU one-yard line. Nebraska was working with a short field after a poor punt by Mike Sadler. The Spartans’ defense held tough after Marlowe’s big run, however, keeping Nebraska out of the end zone on three running plays and forcing the Huskers to settle for a field goal.

Nebraska has the ball as the second quarter begins.

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