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Inflection Point: Nebraska 2018

Stanley Morgan, Jr. won a long jump ball on the first drive. Josh Metellus changed the course of the game on the next play, with the help of Lawrence Marshall.

Dustin Johnston

Just like a loud noise can start an avalanche, one play can set a blowout in motion.

Just before the unequivocal domination over the Cornhuskers in a 56-10 rout Saturday, Michigan allowed Nebraska’s Stanley Morgan Jr. to win a 32-yard jump ball from freshman quarterback Adrian Martinez. The Scott Frosts were on the move on their first drive.

Morgan leapt over Brandon Watson and Josh Metellus for the ball. On the next play, Metellus slammed the door, picking off his second pass of the year and announcing the beginning of the maize and blue avalanche coming Nebraska’s way.

Defensive tackle Lawrence Marshallworking his way back from injury — deserves a ton of credit for the turnover. Husker slot receiver JD Spielman (#10) runs a skinny post, finding himself wide open behind the linebackers. Marshall sticks his paw up, allowing the throw to flutter into Metellus’ hands.

From that point forward, the numbers are staggering:

  • The Wolverines scored 46 straight points.
  • They outgained their foes 491 to 132 — Nebraska added 80 yards on a garbage-time touchdown drive.
  • Karan Higdon led a rushing attack that amassed 285 yards on the nation’s No. 20 rushing defense coming into the afternoon. On the flip side, Scott Frost and friends mustered just 39 rushing yards after averaging 258 yards on the ground in their first two outings.
  • At one point:

That’s Michigan’s fullback outproducing all of Big Red. It’s almost as if Jim Harbaugh was reminding Nebraska of the great fullbacks of the Tom Osborne era: Cory Schlesinger, Tom Rathman and Roger Craig.

Metellus and Marshall catalyzed the entire onslaught with their tip drill interception. They strangled the life out of any hope from the opposition in the opening minutes.