3 takeaways from Michigan's blowout win at Nebraska
If you were wondering how No. 2 Michigan would look when it finally hit the road this year… well, it looks like the Wolverines should play more road games.
The Wolverines had their way every which way against Nebraska in this season’s road debut for Big Blue, steamrolling the Cornhuskers in a 45-7 rout that felt finished by the midway point of the first quarter.
Here are 3 takeaways from Michigan’s win.
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A Michigan manhandling
It was no mystery that Nebraska’s shorthanded offense would be no match against Michigan’s defense. But there was probably some hope in Nebraska that the defense would allow the Cornhuskers to keep things respectable for most of the game if not all of it.
Nebraska entered the game with the Big Ten’s top-ranked run defense, which seemed to bode well for competing against Michigan.
Instead, Nebraska’s defense was merely the canvas on which Michigan demonstrated its superiority. The Wolverines finished with 249 rushing yards and 436 total yards, running 74 total plays to Nebraska’s 50.
Roman Wilson is WR1
Ohio State has the top 2 receivers in the Big Ten in Marvin Harrison Jr. and Emeka Egbuka.(All apologies, Michigan fans.) But Michigan’s Roman Wilson is making a compelling case that he is the clearcut next man up on the B1G totem pole at wideout.
Wilson’s talent was on full display on a pair of brilliant touchdown receptions.
— Big Ten Network (@BigTenNetwork) September 30, 2023
— Big Ten Football (@B1Gfootball) September 30, 2023
Michigan has a tradition of giving No. 1 out to only the best playmakers at wide receiver — Anthony Carter, David Terrell and Braylon Edwards, among others. Wilson is proving that he’s more than worthy of the distinction himself.
In fact, he’s raising the bar for whichever Wolverine is next to get No. 1.
When you combine what Wilson adds to the passing game with already having the Big Ten’s best running back, it’s no mystery as to why Michigan is a national championship contender.
Nebraska has a long way to go
To the surprise of no one, the Cornhuskers are miles away from being able to compete with a top-5 program. Nebraska hasn’t beaten a top-5 opponent since a win over No. 2 Oklahoma on Oct. 27, 2001, and Saturday showed the Huskers aren’t close to changing that any time soon in Matt Rhule’s first year.
Backup quarterback Heinrich Haarberg has been a nice story after leading Nebraska to back-to-back non-conference wins, but his limitations were made evident against a team like Michigan. The Wolverines made Haarberg a pocket passer — which he is not — limiting him to minus-2 rushing yards on 9 attempts with 4 sacks.
Only a 74-yard touchdown run by little-used Josh Fleeks with 4:17 remaining prevented Nebraska from being shut out for the first time since 1996.
Outside of that long run, Nebraska rushed for 32 yards on 20 carries.