Michigan fans have to be happy with the effort of their team’s defense in the first half against Nebraska.
The Cornhuskers have accumulated only 125 yards of total offense and 60 yards rushing against a strong Wolverines defensive effort. Nebraska only got five first downs in the first half and was 0-for-5 on third down.
Quarterback Taylor Martinez hasn’t had much room to run against Michigan’s front seven, along with well-timed blitzes called by defensive coordinator Greg Mattison. Overall, Martinez has rushed for 35 yards on eight carries. Perhaps more impressive is holding Rex Burkhead – who ran over the Michigan State defense a few weeks ago – to only four yards on four carries.
Michigan’s secondary has also done a nice job covering downfield, giving Martinez nowhere to throw the football. He’s completed 3-of-7 passes for 65 yards and a touchdown. But 54 of those yards came on one play, a 54-yard scoring pass to Brandon Kinnie that cut the Wolverines’ lead to 10-7 late in the first quarter.
On the offensive side, Denard Robinson has moved the ball effectively against the Nebraska defense. Robinson has struggled a bit in the passing game, due largely to excellent coverage by the Cornhuskers’ secondary. In the first half, he completed 6-of-11 passes for 98 yards and a touchdown, along with one interception.
Robinson has been more of a threat running the ball, as offensive coordinator Al Borges has called for more designed option runs. But perhaps more encouraging is that Robinson has tucked the ball in and run on several plays when he had no open receivers to throw to. Overall, he’s rushed for 76 yards and a touchdown on 16 carries. Fitzgerald Toussaint has added 51 yards on 13 carries.
Nebraska will get the ball to begin the second half.