Moody’s late FG lifts No. 9 Michigan past Nebraska 32-29

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LINCOLN, Neb. – Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh called the ninth-ranked Wolverines’ come-from-behind victory over Nebraska a “Clint Eastwood win.”

Jake Moody hit a 39-yard field goal with 1:24 remaining to lift Michigan to a 32-20 win over upset-minded Nebraska 32-29 on Saturday night.

“It was a tremendous, tremendous game, incredible really,’ Harbaugh said after watching Nebraska come back from a 13-0 halftime deficit and take the lead only to see Michigan rally for the win with two late field goals. “We’re enjoying it, we’re enjoying the incredible.”

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.

“We practice pushing out the ball, stripping the ball, hitting the ball,” Hawkins said. ” That moment just touching the ball, striking the ball came through.”

Martinez said he thought the play was over when Hawkins took the ball away from him.

“I’m not going to stand up here and make excuses for myself,” Martinez said. “I thought the play was over. I was standing like I am now and thought the play was over. I’ve got to take care of the ball. That hurt our team.”

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.

Michigan’s resilience in highly charged Memorial Stadium filled with 87,000 screaming Husker fans impressed Harbaugh.

“In this environment, that showed a lot of poise and moxie by our guys,” Harbaugh said. “There’s no doubt that they wanted to storm the field, tear down the goalposts. Not on our guy’s watch tonight. That was pretty cool.”

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.

“When we got that first touchdown, it was the flood gates are open,” Martinez said. “We can score on these guys.”

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.

TAKEAWAYS

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.

UP NEXT

Michigan hosts Northwestern on Ocr. 23.

Nebraska is at Minnesota on Saturday.

No. 2 Michigan beats Purdue 43-22 for Big Ten crown

Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports
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INDIANAPOLIS – Donovan Edwards ran for 185 yards and a score, J.J. McCarthy threw three touchdown passes and No. 2 Michigan beat Purdue 43-22 on Saturday night for its second straight Big Ten title and a likely No. 2 playoff seed.

College football’s winningest program has the first 13-win season in school history. Two more victories would give the Wolverines (13-0, No. 2 CFP) their first national championship since 1997.

And with injured star Blake Corum sidelined by a season-ending left knee injury, Edwards stole the show for the second straight week.

After shredding rival Ohio State for 216 yards and two scores last week, Edwards broke open this game with a 60-yard on the first play of the second half to set up one score. He added a 27-yard TD sprint on Michigan’s next series to make it 28-13.

Purdue (8-5) never recovered from Michigan’s quick, seven-play onslaught after it trailed 14-13 at halftime.

But quarterback Aidan O'Connell and receiver Charlie Jones helped the Boilermakers make it interesting for a while.

O’Connell was 32 of 47 with 366 yards and two interceptions after missing some practice time early this week to mourn the death of his oldest brother. Jones, who lost to Michigan in last year’s game while playing for Iowa, had 13 receptions for 162 yards.

It just wasn’t enough.

Michigan showed no signs of a hangover after last week’s rout over the Buckeyes, taking a 7-0 lead on its opening possession with a 25-yard TD pass from J.J. McCarthy to Colston Loveland.

Purdue answered with Devin Mockobee’s 1-yard scoring run to tie the score then took the lead on Mitchell Fineran’s 33-yard field goal.

Michigan answered by taking advantage of an offside call on fourth-and-6 by going for the first down, picking it up and eventually converting the drive into a 7-yard TD pass from McCarthy to Luke Schoonmaker. They never trailed again.

Edwards big run set up Kalel Mullings‘ 1-yard TD plunge before Edwards celebrated his own scoring run.

All Purdue could muster was three more field goals.

McCarthy was 11 of 17 with 161 yards and one interception.

Corum posted a message on Twitter on Saturday morning to say his knee surgery went well.

THE TAKEAWAY

Purdue: The Boilermakers’ magical season ended with a solid showing in the championship game where they played better than most expected. Still, they won the Big Ten’s wild, wild West, both trophy games and should be bound for a warm-weather bowl game.

Michigan: Yes, the Wolverines may have already locked up a top-two seed thanks to losses by Southern Cal and TCU. Michigan now has back-to-back conference crowns for the first time since 2003-04 though the hard part remains – ending its national title drought.

DIALING UP TRICKERY

Brohm played one season in the now defunct XFL and has acknowledged that experience helped him understand how to inject personality and creativity into play calling. It was on full display Saturday.

A surprise end around set up Purdue’s first score, a fake punt helped keep its second scoring drive alive and then Mockobee sprinted 25 yards on a fake flea-flicker in the third quarter.

UP NEXT

Purdue: Will find out its bowl game, destination and opponent Sunday.

Michigan: Waiting to see where its headed and who it will face in the national semifinals.

Klubnik, No. 10 Clemson rout No. 24 UNC 39-10 for ACC title

Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Backup quarterback Cade Klubnik completed 20 of 24 passes for 279 yards and a touchdown and ran for another score and No. 10 Clemson reclaimed the Atlantic Coast Conference championship with a 39-10 victory over No. 24 North Carolina on Saturday night.

Cornerback Nate Wiggins broke up two passes in the end zone, blocked a field goal and returned an interception 98 yards for a touchdown to help the Tigers win their seventh ACC title in eight seasons.

Clemson (11-2, No. 9 CFP) won six straight ACC championships from 2015 to 2020 before failing to reach the title game last season. But coach Dabo Swinney‘s Tigers rebounded in a big way, going 9-0 against ACC foes this season to reach the Orange Bowl.

They have Klubnik to thank for that.

With Clemson down 7-0, Swinney benched two-year starter D.J. Uiagalelei after the Tigers failed to pick up a first down on their first two possessions, Swinney turned to Klubnik, a 5-star recruit from Austin, Texas. He responded by leading the Tigers to four straight scores and a 24-10 lead at halftime.

Clemson stretched it to 39-10 heading into the fourth quarter.

It wasn’t the first time Swinney has turned to Klubnik.

He benched Uiagalelei in the second half against Syracuse and Klubnik responded by leading the Tigers to a come-from-behind 27-21 victory. Swinney also turned to Klubnik against Notre Dame, although the results were the opposite with the freshman throwing a Pick 6 in a 35-14 loss.

Swinney has never been shy about replacing veteran QBs with less experienced players. He did it in 2014, sitting Cole Stoudt for Deshaun Watson, and again in 2018 replacing Kelly Bryant with Trevor Lawrence.

ACC player of the year Drake Maye was limited to 268 yards passing and turned the ball over three times for North Carolina (9-4, No. 23 CFP), which was seeking its first ACC championship since 1980 when Lawrence Taylor was wreaking havoc on quarterbacks.

Maye got things started on the right foot for the Tar Heels, capping an 11-play, 78-yard drive with a 3-yard touchdown run for a 7-0 lead on UNC’s first possession.

But the Tar Heels repeatedly sputtered on offense inside the red zone after that, the biggest blow coming when Maye misfired near the goal line and Wiggins – who had struggled in Clemson’s 51-45 win over Wake Forest – returned his pass for a touchdown to give Clemson a 32-10 lead with 5:05 left in the third quarter.

Klubnik provided an immediate spark for Clemson.

He led the Tigers on a nine-play, 71-yard drive, culminating in a 1-yard TD pass to Davis Allen. After Maye’s fumble, Klubnik caught a 19-yard pass from Phil Mafah to set up Mafah’s 4-yard touchdown run – Clemson’s second TD in a span of 40 seconds.

Klubnik then showed off his arm strength with a 68-yard pass to fellow freshman Cole Turner to set up his own 1-yard TD run for a 21-7 lead.

END OF AN ERA

This is the final year the ACC will feature its two division winners playing for a championship. In future years, all ACC teams will be lumped together and the two teams with the best records will advance to the title game.

THE TAKEAWAY

North Carolina: Maye garnered plenty of Heisman Trophy talk during the season, but the Tar Heels offense has stalled resulting in a three-game losing streak. But as long as Maye doesn’t transfer – and there are no indications he will given his family history at North Carolina – the Tar Heels have a good chance to get back to the ACC title game next season.

Clemson: The Tigers have set a high bar by winning national championships, so as much as they will enjoy getting back atop the ACC mountain there will be plenty of talk over whether Swinney cost his team a chance at a spot in the College Football Playoff by not turning to Klubnik at quarterback earlier in the season. It seems Uiagalelei might be a logical transfer portal candidate.

UP NEXT

Clemson will play in the Orange Bowl, while North Carolina awaits a bowl bid.