Conference realignment was all of the rage not too long ago, and one of the biggest moves was Nebraska’s venture into the Big Ten. A college football traditional power within the Midwest footprint seemed like a no-brainer addition, and a 2012 appearance in the Big Ten Championship game seemed to justify this decision.
Since then, the Cornhuskers have been decent at best, but Michigan fans would be forgiven for not noticing. The two sides met three times upon Nebraska’s conference change, but have not met in the four seasons since. Head to head, the teams are even with four wins, four losses and one draw a piece, although Nebraska has taken two of the last three.
2011: Michigan 45, Nebraska 17 (Ann Arbor)
The No. 18 Wolverines took down the No. 16 Cornhuskers during the visitor’s inaugural Big Ten campaign in a late-season showdown. Denard Robinson threw just 18 times compared to 23 carries, resulting in four total touchdowns on the day. Michigan was up just seven at halftime before scoring four times in the second half to Nebraska’s one.
Robinson completed touchdown passes to Martavious Odoms and Jeremy Gallon and notched 180 yards in the air. His running game led to 83 yards and two scores. Fitzgerald Toussaint was the main man on the ground, though, rushing almost 30 times for 138 yards and two touchdowns of his own.
2012: Nebraska 23, Michigan 9 (Lincoln)
The rematch in Nebraska was much less pretty. No. 22 Michigan was unable to find the end zone and only recorded a trio of Brendan Gibbons field goals. The score was 7-6 at halftime and 16-9 after the third quarter, but Michigan never posed a real threat, mostly due to an elbow injury to Robinson.
Backup Russell Bellomy was horrendous, throwing as many picks as completions; he was a shocking 3-for-16. The Wolverines rushed for under 100 yards as well, with neither Robinson nor Toussaint able to gain even 10 yards on a given run. As a result, Michigan was held to just 188 yards on the day.
2013: Nebraska 17, Michigan 13 (Ann Arbor)
Thanks to questionable conference scheduling, Michigan and Nebraska faced off in 2013 for the last time until this season. The Cornhuskers scored a late touchdown to seal the win in a defensive battle. Michigan rushed for negative-21 total yards, helped by allowing seven sacks. Leading rusher Derrick Green had eight carries for 11 yards.
Devin Gardner had a decent day passing, throwing for a touchdown and just shy of 200 yards. However, the sacks took their toll and stifled the Wolverine offense. Devin Funchess recorded 66 yards and a score that tied the game in the third quarter. However, a 3-for-15 third down conversion rate all but doomed the Maize and Blue.