Barrett Pickering kicked three field goals in the fourth quarter, the last one a 47-yarder with 5:13 left, as Nebraska came from behind to beat Michigan State 9-6 on Saturday.

It was the first time the Cornhuskers had won a game without scoring a touchdown since a 3-0 victory over Kansas State in 1937, according to Nebraska sports information officials.

“Every week I’ve been coaching them there’s a little more fight. Today’s the most I’ve seen,” first-year Huskers coach Scott Frost said. “That’s a hard game to win. Even harder to lose. Our guys had to keep grinding, and the defense had to keep coming up with stops.”

Michigan State defensive end Kenny Willekes (48) recovers a fumble for a turnover by Nebraska quarterback Adrian Martinez (2) during the first half of an NCAA college football game in Lincoln, Neb., Saturday, Nov. 17, 2018. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)
Michigan State defensive end Kenny Willekes (48) recovers a fumble for a turnover by Nebraska quarterback Adrian Martinez (2) during the first half of an NCAA college football game in Lincoln, Neb., Saturday, Nov. 17, 2018. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)

The Spartans (6-5, 4-4 Big Ten) got field goals of 34 and 26 yards from Matt Coghlin but was unable to sustain offense against a Nebraska defense that has struggled most of the season.

Nebraska (4-7, 3-5), which had put up some of the best offensive numbers in the nation the past six weeks, tied it at 6-all on Pickering field goals of 36 and 20 yards.

The Huskers got the ball back when Antonio Reed and Dedrick Young knocked the ball out of MSU tight end Matt Dotson’s hands for an incomplete pass to force a punt. Nebraska ran six plays before Pickering connected for the winning field goal with a strong north wind at his back.

Nebraska quarterback Adrian Martinez (2) fumbles the ball for a turnover after a tackle by Michigan State defensive end Jacub Panasiuk (96), during the first half of an NCAA college football game in Lincoln, Neb., Saturday, Nov. 17, 2018. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)
Nebraska quarterback Adrian Martinez (2) fumbles the ball for a turnover after a tackle by Michigan State defensive end Jacub Panasiuk (96), during the first half of an NCAA college football game in Lincoln, Neb., Saturday, Nov. 17, 2018. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)

Nebraska, which had gone over 450 total yards in seven straight games, generated just 248. Devine Ozigbo ran 18 times for 74 yards to become the first Nebraska player since 2014 to go over 1,000 for the season.

Adrian Martinez threw for 145 yards, and Stanley Morgan caught four balls for 67 yards to become the school’s career leader in receptions with 182.

MSU’s Rocky Lombardi completed just 15 of 41 passes for 146 yards. Connor Heyward rushed 21 times for 80 yards and caught five passes for 78.

Michigan State quarterback Rocky Lombardi (12) throws a pass in front of Nebraska linebacker Dedrick Young II (5) during the first half of an NCAA college football game in Lincoln, Neb., Saturday, Nov. 17, 2018. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)
Michigan State quarterback Rocky Lombardi (12) throws a pass in front of Nebraska linebacker Dedrick Young II (5) during the first half of an NCAA college football game in Lincoln, Neb., Saturday, Nov. 17, 2018. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)

“We had too many drops,” Spartans coach Mark Dantonio said. “If you’ve got to point to one thing in the football game, it would be the dropped passes. I thought Lombardi played pretty well. At the end of the day, you’ve got to put the ball in the end zone in the red zone.”

It was a classic mid-November Big Ten football setting. A gray sky was followed by intermittent flurries and, by the fourth quarter, light snow that began covering the Memorial Stadium turf. A 21-mph north wind made for a feel-like temperature of 15 degrees.

Each team entered the game missing key injured players. Michigan State started Lombardi for the second time in four games in place of Brian Lewereke. Nebraska was without leading receiver JD Spielman.

Nebraska quarterback Adrian Martinez (2) warms up before an NCAA college football game against Michigan State in Lincoln, Neb., Saturday, Nov. 17, 2018. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)
Nebraska quarterback Adrian Martinez (2) warms up before an NCAA college football game against Michigan State in Lincoln, Neb., Saturday, Nov. 17, 2018. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)

The game was chippy from the outset. The teams combined for four unsportsmanlike conduct penalties and one roughing the passer penalty.

THE TAKEAWAY

Michigan State: The injury-plagued Spartans are a mess offensively. They gained 289 total yards, but between dropped passes and big stops by the Nebraska defense, they couldn’t sustain any drives.

Michigan State quarterback Rocky Lombardi (12) warms up before an NCAA college football game against Nebraska in Lincoln, Neb., Saturday, Nov. 17, 2018. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)
Michigan State quarterback Rocky Lombardi (12) warms up before an NCAA college football game against Nebraska in Lincoln, Neb., Saturday, Nov. 17, 2018. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)

Nebraska: The Huskers’ defense has given up a lot of yards and points this year, but they played their best game of the season.

UP NEXT

Michigan State hosts Rutgers on Saturday.

Nebraska head coach Scott Frost, left, Gerald and Jill Foltz, Karen Sadler, third right, Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio, second from right, and Katie Sadler, right, participate in a midfield ceremony before an NCAA college football game in Lincoln, Neb., Saturday, Nov. 17, 2018. The ceremony was held to honor former punters Sam Foltz, of Nebraska, and Mike Sadler, of Michigan State, who died in a car accident in July 2016 while both were in Wisconsin to work at a kicking camp. It is the first game between the teams since the accident. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)
Nebraska head coach Scott Frost, left, Gerald and Jill Foltz, Karen Sadler, third right, Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio, second from right, and Katie Sadler, right, participate in a midfield ceremony before an NCAA college football game in Lincoln, Neb., Saturday, Nov. 17, 2018. The ceremony was held to honor former punters Sam Foltz, of Nebraska, and Mike Sadler, of Michigan State, who died in a car accident in July 2016 while both were in Wisconsin to work at a kicking camp. It is the first game between the teams since the accident. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)

Nebraska visits Iowa on Friday.

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Source: The Associated Press

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