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Michigan hands Huskers historic 56-10 loss

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Associated Press

ANN ARBOR, Mich. – Following Nebraska’s loss to Troy last week, head coach Scott Frost said during his postgame press conference said: “This will get worse before it gets better but it’s always darkest before the dawn.”

He sure wasn’t kidding.

In their first road game of the season and Big Ten Conference opener at No. 19 Michigan on Saturday, the Huskers were completely dominated in every aspect in a 56-10 drubbing.

The loss, which fell 14 points shy of the most lopsided defeat in team history (60), dropped NU to 0-3 on the year for the first time since 1945.

The Wolverines (3-1) ended up out-gaining Nebraska in total yards by nearly 300 yards in a game that was almost over before it started. UM led 39-0 at halftime, marking Nebraska’s largest halftime deficit in modern history.

The Huskers have now lost their past seven games dating back to last season, which ties for the longest losing streak in program history (also 1942-43 and 1957).

True freshman Adrian Martinez returned as the starting quarterback after missing the Troy loss with a knee injury, but it didn’t make much difference.

Martinez’s first pass of the day was a 32-yard completion to Stanley Morgan Jr. with Nebraska facing a third-and-9 on its opening drive. His second attempt on the ensuing play was tipped at the line and intercepted by Josh Metellus at the UM 36-yard line.

The Wolverines wasted little time capitalizing, as running back Karan Higdon broke a 46-yard run and then fullback Ben Mason plowed in from one yard out for the first touchdown.

The Huskers did nothing on a quick three-and-out their next drive, and again Michigan cruised down the field on the very first play with a 44-yard touchdown run by Higdon that made it 14-0 just five minutes into the game.

Following another NU punt, the Wolverines converted two third-and-longs en route to Mason waltzing into the end zone untouched from four yards out for their third touchdown on their first three drives of the game.

Michigan missed the extra point to leave the lead at 20-0, which was about the only thing that went Nebraska’s way in the first quarter.

In fact, UM didn’t finally have to punt until its fourth possession with 10 seconds left in the first quarter, and Tyjon Lindsey ended up muffing the return to give Michigan the ball back at the Huskers’ 35.

The good news was the defense held Michigan to a 50-yard field goal by Quinn Nordin, but it still left the Huskers facing a 23-point deficit. The Wolverines ended up out-gaining Nebraska 174-30 in total yards in the first quarter, including a rushing advantage of 131 to minus-five.

Michigan picked up a fourth-and-1 from the NU 12 and then made it 30-0 on a five-yard touchdown pass from Shea Patterson to tight end Zach Gentry with just under nine minutes left in the second.

Mason rumbled in for his third touchdown run of the game, and then Martinez was hit for an intentional grounding penalty in NU’s own end zone, pushing the Wolverines’ lead to a whopping 39-0.

Michigan had 305 yards of offense through two quarters to just 17 for Nebraska, with a 190 to minus-six edge on the ground.

Nebraska opted to bench Martinez for the second half, turning the offense over to sophomore walk-on Andrew Bunch. That plan lasted all of two plays before Bunch temporarily left the game with an injury.

Martinez came back into the game and things just kept on getting worse for the Huskers. After NU was quickly forced to punt, Michigan’s Donovan Peoples-Jones busted loose for a 60-yard runback for a touchdown to make it 46-0.

With just over six minutes left in the third quarter, Nebraska’s offense finally reached the red zone for the first time on the day. But the drive was eventually stopped but freshman kicker Barret Pickering at least got the Huskers on the board 35-yard field goal.

Michigan answered with a field goal of its own to make it 49-3 going into the fourth quarter. The lead soon went up to 56-3 when backup quarterback Dylan McCaffery hit Ronnie Bell on a 56-yard touchdown pass on the next drive.

Walk-on Wyatt Mazour finally got the Huskers their first and only touchdown of the day with a 3-yard scoring run with four minutes left.

Nebraska will return to action next week for its homecoming game vs. Purdue, which is set for a 2:30 p.m. kick on Big Ten Network.