|Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson (16) looks to pass a touchdown pass in the first quarter of an NCAA college football game against Nebraska, Saturday, Nov. 19, 2011, in Ann Arbor, Mich. (AP Photo/Tony Ding)|
No. 17 Nebraska loses 45-17 to No. 20 Michigan
ANN ARBOR, Mich.—Nebraska's first trip to Michigan Stadium since 1962 was simply miserable.
Denard Robinson threw two touchdown passes and ran for two scores to help No. 20 Michigan rout the 17th-ranked Cornhuskers 45-17 Saturday.
Nebraska (8-3, 4-3 Big Ten) lost any hope of playing in the conference's first title game in its debut season in the league.
"It was one of our dreams, but we can't pout," Cornhuskers receiver Tim Marlowe said.
The Cornhuskers will close the regular season at home against Iowa in a matchup of third-place teams in the Big Ten's Legends Division.
The Spartans clinched the Legends' spot in the Dec. 3 game in Indianapolis with a win over Indiana and the Wolverines' victory against Nebraska.
Michigan (9-2, 5-2) moved past Nebraska into second place in the division and kept its chances of playing in a BCS bowl for the first time since the 2006 season.
Robinson was 11 of 18 for 180 yards with two TDs and an interception. He ran for 83 yards and two scores in three-plus quarters.
"He's a good player," Cornhuskers coach Bo Pelini said. "He made us miss a few times, but we made him a better passer."
Michigan's Fitzgerald Toussaint had 138 yards rushing and two scores, the second of which was the final score midway through the fourth quarter of a game that started off close.
After the Wolverines went ahead 10-0, Nebraska tied it on Taylor Martinez's 54-yard pass to Brandon Kinnie, who took advantage of three defensive backs falling on the play late in the first quarter, and Brett Maher's career-long 51-yard field goal early in the second quarter after Robinson threw his 14th interception of the season.
Michigan responded by scoring 21 straight points, but the Cornhuskers wouldn't go away.
They pulled within two TDs late in the third on a crafty play that started with a handoff to Rex Burkhead and finished with an option pitch to Ameer Abdullah for a 3-yard score, but couldn't get closer.
But just when it looked as if Nebraska might get some momentum, shutting down Michigan on consecutive drives, Wil Richards was called for roughing the kicker on a punt and the Wolverines went on to put the game out of reach.
Penalties, three turnovers, getting fooled on a fake field goal and the inability to run with Burkhead or Martinez all proved to be costly.
Burkhead was held to a season-low 36 yards and didn't score for the first time this season. Martinez ran for 49 yards -- 3.1 per carry -- and was 9 of 23 for 122 yards with a TD and a fumble, one of a season-high three for the Cornhuskers.
Michigan's defense didn't allow the Cornhuskers to convert a third down until late in the third quarter after they failed on their first seven chances.
"With all the turnovers, it threw us off balance," Martinez said.
It was Nebraska's worst showing since its Big Ten debut this year -- a 48-17 loss at Wisconsin.
"I thought our guys were ready to play," Pelini said. "I don't have an answer why we put the ball on the ground twice in the second half. We gave away two possessions."