Three Up/Three Down: Michigan State Grinds Out Win Against Nebraska

Michigan State had their toughest test of the season, but pushed through for a victory against Nebraska.
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Michigan State had their fair share of offensive struggles throughout the game, they only had one yard of offense and were held to a season low 254 yards of total offense (183 passing, 71 rushing).

A win is a win although and this definitely wasn't easy by any stretch of the imagination. This was a hard fought Big Ten battle that Michigan State won on special teams and defense, although not conventional it got the job done.

Three Up

Xavier Henderson stepped up as the leader of this team on defense

Michigan State has been searching for an identity especially on defense this season with so many new pieces, and it looks like Henderson could be the leader of the defensive unit. Henderson had 17 tackles which marked the most in a single game for MSU since 2016.

 Turnover battle was won once again and in a big way

Payton Thorne threw his first interception of the season on the opening possession, although it was a deep pass that wasn't returned. The Spartans got a strip sack from Panasiuk in the fourth quarter and an interception in overtime by Chester Kimbrough ultimately were a huge difference in this game.

Special Teams

Jayden Reed's punt return for a touchdown to tie the game in the fourth quarter and Matt Coughlin's game winning field goal in overtime showed Michigan State is deep and disciplined on special teams when the offense struggled to find any positive plays on offense in the fourth quarter.

Three Down

Offensive line struggles

The offensive line struggled to get any push and the run game suffered. Walker was being hit in the back field nearly every play especially in the fourth quarter. Nebraska was getting pressure almost every play and that will have to be corrected as the season goes on although this unit has improved as a whole since last season, there is still work to be done.

Broken plays positive for Nebraska

The defense stood on their head most of the game and played well but broken plays seemed to haunt the Spartans a few times. MSU bottled up Miami pretty well but a few times Nebraska quarterback Adrian Martinez would break off a big run on a broken play keeping some drives alive for Nebraska, although the Spartans did have seven sacks on Martinez, their only form of offense was from broken plays.

Thorne hesitant at times

Thorne doesn't like to turn the ball over or take a chance at times which could be a blessing or a curse at times. There was a few times I thought Thorne didn't take a few chances or take what the defense gave him and pick up a few yards on the ground but that may have been by design. The offense struggled in the second half but credit should partially be given to Nebraska's defense for holding the Spartans in check.