After a number of grind-it-out offensive struggles this season, offensive fireworks were on display as the MSU football team (5-4 overall, 2-3 Big Ten) and Nebraska (6-2, 3-1) head into the halftime locker room tied at 14.
The Spartans opened the game by forcing a three and out on the opening possession and with the help of a 16-yard Cornhusker punt, moved into field goal range on their first drive.
But senior kicker Dan Conroy missed his seventh field goal of the season, preventing the Spartans from coming away with points and keeping the game scoreless.
Yet on MSU’s next drive they didn’t leave their fate on the leg of their kicker, driving 68 yards on 10 plays, ending with an 11-yard touchdown run by junior running back Le’Veon Bell to put the Spartans out in front.
Nebraska responded with a touchdown drive of its own the next time they touched the ball, with a 59-yard run by junior quarterback Taylor Martinez setting up a 2-yard completion to sophomore running back Ameer Abdullah to knot the game, 7-7.
The Cornhuskers had a chance to take the lead on the first drive of the second quarter, but a 12 play, 67-yard drive failed to result in points when senior kicker Brett Maher couldn’t connect on a 30-yard field goal.
MSU took advantage of the miscue on its next possession, with a 40-yard run by Bell, followed by a 46-yard touchdown toss from junior quarterback Andrew Maxwell to sophomore receiver Tony Lippett to help MSU regain the lead, 14-7.
After both teams exchanged punts, Martinez exploded for a 71-yard touchdown run around the right side to even the score.
Nebraska totaled 263 yards of offense in the first half, led by Martinez who completed 8-of-16 passes for 52 yards and a touchdown, along with rushing for 156 yards and another score.
Abdullah also carried 12 times for 57 rushing yards in the first half.
Bell led the way for the Spartans with 105 rushing yards and a touchdown on 14 carries, while Maxwell completed 6-of-14 passes for 89 yards and a touchdown.