It wasn’t pretty, but Michigan State finally found its way to a win against Nebraska for the first time in program history.
The Spartans took advantage of five turnovers and three touchdowns from Jeremy Langford to win 41-28 in Lincoln.
Langford had a career-high 151 yards rushing and capped the win with a 37-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter.
With the win, MSU's senior class became the winningest in MSU history with 38 -- breaking the record set in 2011.
The Spartans also clinched at least a share of the Legends Division title. With a win in one of its final two games, MSU will clinch a trip to Indianapolis.
Michigan State forced a turnover on its first drive as Nebraska quarterback Tommy Armstrong pitched to running back Terrell Newby, who fumbled and Shilique Calhoun recovered at the Nebraska 40-yard line.
The Spartans settled for a 45-yard field goal from Michael Geiger after Connor Cook overthrew an open Tony Lippett in the end zone.
On Nebraska’s third play of its next possession, Kurtis Drummond picked off an erratic pass from Armstrong at the Nebraska 46. Set back by a Jack Conklin holding penalty to open the drive, MSU couldn’t muster any offense and punted.
MSU punted on its next possession and Nebraska’s Jordan Westerkamp fielded it at the Nebraska fielded it at the 12, but Drummond knocked it lose and long snapper Taybor Pepper recovered at the 8-yard line.
Two plays later, freshman R.J. Shelton ran in for a 5-yard touchdown and a 10-0 MSU lead with 4:57 to go in the first.
Fueled by two long plays to Sam Burtch, Nebraska scored on the ensuing drive on a 32-yard pass from Armstrong to Burtch to make it 10-7 with 2:44 to go in the first.
It was the first touchdown MSU allowed since the fourth quarter of the Indiana game on Oct. 4, a span of 194:33 of game time.
MSU allowed 46 yards rushing in the first quarter, more than its average of 43 yards rushing allowed per game.
MSU again settled for a field goal – this from 25 yards – and a 13-7 lead after a long drive stalled inside the 10-yard line.
The third-and-goal play featured Cook running around like he didn’t know what was going on – a la, The Longest Yard – before the ball was snapped, pitched to Lippett, who threw to Andrew Gleichert in the end zone. Gleichert appeared he didn’t know what was happening on the play and was nowhere near the pass and was called for offensive pass interference.
The teams exchanged punts and Nebraska took over with 3:22 in the first half. On a third-and-11, Armstrong escaped the pocket but Shilique Calhoun caught him from behind after a 4-yard gain and knocked the ball loose. Isaiah Lewis recovered it at the Nebraska 22.
Three plays later, Jeremy Langford ran it in for a 6-yard touchdown and a 20-7 lead going into halftime.
MSU came out flat to start the second half as penalties resulted in a first-and-35. MSU wound up punting from its 25 – right where the drive started.
Nebraska pulled within 20-14 on a 51-yard touchdown run from Imani Cross after Drummond was called for pass interference on third-and-7. The rush gave Nebraska 143 rushing yards, the first team to break 100 against the Michigan State defense this season.
Nebraska turned the ball over again when Armstrong fumbled the snap on Nebraska’s 1-yard line. Trae Waynes recovered it at the 3 and Langford took it in on the first play for his second touchdown of the game and a 27-14 MSU lead.
The Huskers responded on the next drive as Kenny Bell made an acrobatic catch for a 38-yard touchdown from Armstrong on third-and-9 to pull back within six at 27-21.
Lined up to kick a 45-yard field goal to take a 30-21 lead, Mark Dantonio reached into his bag of tricks and called a fake. Holder Mike Sadler picked it up and ran for four yards up the middle – taking some hits in the process – for the first down.
Cook capitalized on the conversion and hit Keith Mumphery for a 27-yard touchdown to put MSU ahead 34-21 with 7:56 to go.
Nebraska scored a touchdown with 10 seconds left on a 12-yard touchdown from Ron Kellogg to Abdullah.