Welcome to the new normal.
MSU went into Lincoln and came away with a 41-28 win, the school's first-ever win over Nebraska. The win moved MSU to 9-1 and 6-0 in the Big Ten.
MSU has now won at least nine games in three of the last four years and four of the last six. They had done that eight times previously in school history. The Spartans are 12-3 in Big Ten road games since the 2010 season. It's the first time MSU is 6-0 in the Big Ten since 1966.
The win over Michigan was a final stamp on the player development of the program, and the win in Lincoln was one more stamp on exactly what kind of program Mark Dantonio has built. One that has won in every Big Ten stadium. One that has a dominant defense, but can also win in other ways.
MSU has clinched a share of the Legends division. One more win by MSU or one loss by Minnesota will clinch a second trip to Indianapolis in three years.
Looking back at my keys to the game.
Stop the option run - Nebraska appears to have the keys to moving the ball on MSU's defense. Ameer Abdullah finished with 123 yards on 22 carries. Imani Cross had 50 yards on three carries, but 51 on one run. Tommy Armstrong Jr. had nine yards on five carries. The option itself wasn't very effective.
In 2012, Le'Veon Bell had 639 yards rushing through 6 Big Ten games. In 2013, Jeremy Langford has 658 yards through those 6 games.— KJ (@KJatTOC) November 17, 2013
Langford is beating Bell on a per-carry basis in B10 play, though: 4.67 vs. 4.45. Healthy O-line a big part of that, obviously.— KJ (@KJatTOC) November 17, 2013
A lot of praise should go to the wide receivers, who made a number of really, really tough catches. Tony Lippett (4, 67), Macgarrett Kings (3, 37) and Bennie Fowler (2, 29) all made some great grabs. The 2012 season, and even the WMU and USF games are distant memories.
Fun fact: MSU is averaging 30.9 points per game this year. In 2010, it was 29.5. In 2011, it was 31.0. Now, the yards-per-play is a bit lower, but this offense continues to be very opportunistic and makes the big plays at big times.
Last season, seven of MSU's eight Big Ten games were decided by four points or fewer. This season, all six are wins by at least 12 points. MSU is averaging 32.3 points in Big Ten play and has scored more than 40 points three times.
MSU has a top-15 football team and likely the No. 1 men's basketball team. Enjoy it.
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