Michigan State beats Nebraska in overtime, 23-20

Published: Sep. 24, 2021 at 9:27 PM CDT
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EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) --Chester Kimbrough intercepted Adrian Martinez’s pass in overtime and Matt Coghlin made a 21-yard field goal to keep No. 20 Michigan State unbeaten with a 23-20 win over Nebraska.

The Spartans won despite not converting a first down in the second half. Michigan State’s special teams came up big late in regulation. Jayden Reed returned a punt 62 yards for a touchdown with 3:47 left in regulation to tie it 20-all. This was Nebraska’s 14th straight loss to a ranked team. The Huskers haven’t beaten a Top 25 opponent on the road since 2011.

Nebraska’s loss dropped the Huskers to 9-3 all-time against Michigan State, including a 4-3 record as Big Ten opponents, and evened the series at 2-2 in East Lansing.

The Huskers, playing their first overtime game since 2018 at Northwestern, lost their fifth consecutive overtime game, falling to 8-6 all-time in overtime.

Nebraska’s defense held Michigan State to 18 plays for 36 yards after halftime, including 15 plays for 14 yards in the second half. Michigan State’s only first down after halftime came on the first play of overtime.

Nebraska out-gained Michigan State 234-14 in the second half, including 122-13 yards in the third quarter. Nebraska had eight first downs in the second half while not allowing a MSU first down.

Quarterback Adrian Martinez had a 45-yard run in the second quarter, marking his third run of the season of at least 45 yards (75 at Illinois, 71 vs. Buffalo).

Martinez had 19 carries for 59 yards in the game, to increase his career rushing total to 2,125. Martinez moved into 10th place on the Big Ten’s all-time quarterback rushing list, passing Ohio State’s Cornelius Greene. Martinez also tied Steve Taylor (2,125 yards) for the fourth-most rushing yards by a quarterback in Nebraska history.

Adrian Martinez had 248 passing yards and 59 rushing yards to account for 307 yards of offense. Martinez has had at least 250 yards of offense in a school-record six straight games, eclipsing the previous record of five by Joe Ganz in 2008 and Tommy Armstrong Jr. over the 2014 and 2015 seasons.

Freshman receiver Zavier Betts had five catches for 62 yards. The five receptions tied a career high (5 at Purdue, 2020) and the 62 yards bettered his previous career high (61 last week at Oklahoma).

Running back Rahmir Johnson rushed 19 times for 76 yards, setting a career-high in rushing yards, surpassing his 55 yards at Maryland in 2019. Johnson had the two longest rushes of his career with runs of 18 and 15 yards. His previous career long was 13 yards at Maryland in 2019.

Nebraska senior safety Marquel Dismuke had a first-quarter interception, marking his first career pick.

Garrett Nelson recorded a 4-yard sack in the second quarter, giving him 1.5 sacks this season. He added a six-yard TFL in the fourth quarter. Nelson has had at least one tackle for loss in four of five games this season and seven of his last eight game dating back to the 2020 season.

Nebraska’s blocked field on the final play of the first half by Cam Taylor-Britt was the Huskers’ second blocked field goal of the 2021 season. Marquel Dismuke blocked a field goal against Fordham on Sept. 4.

Taylor-Britt logged two tackles in the game, to surpass 100 career tackles (101). Safety Deontai Williams also passed the century mark in career tackles with his five tonight (104).

Linebacker Luke Reimer finished with 11 tackles, his second double-figure tackle performance in the past three games (16 vs. Buffalo).

Through five games, Nebraska has allowed only nine points by the opponents in the first half, including only seven points allowed by the NU defense (2 at Illinois, 7 at Oklahoma).

Senior receiver Levi Falck had a 22-yard reception in the third quarter, his longest at Nebraska bettering a 21-yard catch last season.

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