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.