LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — Jake Moody hit a 39-yard field goal with 1;24 remaining to lift No. 9 Michigan over upset-minded Nebraska 32-29 on Saturday night.
Moody’s fourth field goal came after Wolverines defensive back Brad Hawkins forced Cornhuskers quarterback Adrian Martinez to fumble, returning it 19 yards to the Nebraska 18 to set up the game-winner.
“That was a Clint Eastwood win, we’re going to enjoy it,” Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh said after watching Nebraska overcome a 13-0 halftime deficit to take the lead only to have the Wolverines get the game-winner. “it was a tremendous, tremendous game, incredible really We’re, we’re enjoying it, we’re enjoying the incredible.”
Hawkins said forcing the fumble came as the result of practice.
“We practice pushing out the ball, stripping the ball, hitting the ball,” he said. “ That moment just touching the ball, striking the ball came through.”
Michigan (6-0, 3-0 Big Ten) has won its first six games for the first time since starting 9-0 in 2016.
Nebraska (3-4, 1-3) has lost three games in four weeks to ranked teams — No. 6 Oklahoma on Sept. 18, No. 11 Michigan State two weeks ago and Michigan — by a total of 13 points. The Huskers have now lost 14 straight games against ranked opponents, nine of them under coach Scott Frost.
“I can’t imagine the things happening to us all happening to us,” Frost said. “I thought tonight was the night. We’ll get there. We’ve got a really good team. I’m so proud of them.”
Nebraska came storming back to take the lead in the third quarter after cornerback Deontai Williams picked off the first interception of Michigan quarterback Cade McNamara’s career.
Martinez hit Levi Faulk on a 13-yard swing pass, then ran the two-point conversion to put Nebraska up 22-19 entering the final period.
Michigan countered with 10-play 75 yard drive capped by Blake Corum’s 29-yard touchdown run only to be matched by an eight-play, 75-yard Nebraska drive that saw Martinez score from the 5 to make the score 29-26.
The Wolverines moved down the field again, going 69 yard before the drive stalled and Moody hit a 31-yarder to knot the score.
Nebraska scored on its first drive of the second half, with Martinez hitting tight end Austin Allen with a 46-yard touchdown pass and, after Michigan went up 19-7 on a Hassan Haskin’s 3-yard run, scored again on a Rahmir Johnson’s 41-yard reception.
Martinez finished 18 for 28 passing with three touchdowns and an interception.
Michigan’s Hassan Hawkins finished with 123 yards rushing and two touchdowns, including a 3-yard dive that gave the Wolverines a 13-0 halftime lead.
Michigan hadn’t trailed this season until Faulk’s touchdown gave Nebraska the lead. McNamara’s interception was just the second turnover of the year by the Wolverines.
Saturday’s win was Michigan’s first in Lincoln. The Wolverines tied the Huskers 6-6 in 1911 and lost to the Huskers in Memorial Stadium in 2012.
Nebraska miscues returned to haunt the Huskers In addition to Martinez’s late fumble, Oliver Martin’s fair catch in the first trapped Nebraska at its 6. On the next play, Martinez threw an interception that led to Moody’s first field goal. Hawkins’ half-ending touchdown came on the play after a pass interference penalty on Nebraska’s JoJo Domann.
Michigan hosts Northwestern on Ocr. 23.
Nebraska is at Minnesota on Saturday.