Russell Bellomy (8)
It was nearly 11:15 p.m. ET when the final gun sounded in Nebraska's 23-9 Big Ten football victory over Michigan.
Some thought the ending came late in the second quarter when an injury to Denard Robinson's throwing elbow caused him to miss the remainder of the game.
Others thought the defeat was caused earlier in the year when Michigan failed to prepare backup quarterback Russell Bellomy for the situation he was about to face last night.
Bellomy's performance in place of Robinson made a good Nebraska team appear invincible. Bellomy himself looked like a confused high school senior. In a little over two quarters of work, he completed just three passes in 16 attempts while tossing a game-killing three interceptions.
With Robinson on the sidelines, Nebraska's defense terrorized the young quarterback, bringing one blitz after another.
In the post-game press conference, Michigan head coach Brady Hoke was asked to assess Bellomy's performance. "For me to speculate why a guy plays (the way he does); he hasn't played a whole lot for us," Hoke told Nebraska media relations.
Therein lies the problem.
Whether it was against UMass, Purdue or Illinois, there were several opportunities to rest Robinson and bring in Bellomy. He received so few opportunities, some wondered if Devin Gardner was, in fact, the true backup quarterback.
There was even concern in spring practice when Gardner was moved full-time to wide receiver. Was Bellomy the right choice for the backup quarterback job?
Bellomy—as Robinson sometimes appears in this year's offense—was too often on his own. Michigan's tailback game was marginal at best. Fitz Toussaint gained 38 yards on 15 carries, Jeremy Gallon rushed for 17 yards on three chances and Vincent Smith lost six yards on four tries.
Regardless, Michigan blew a huge chance to get a leg up on the Legends Division race. Nebraska (6-2, 3-1) and Michigan (5-3, 3-1) are now tied atop the division, but the win gives the tiebreaker to the Cornhuskers.
Quarterback is not the only position in question. For the second straight week, power running tailback Thomas Rawls wasn't a factor at tailback.
The game was filled with a few strange bounces and several curious penalties.
A 50-yard completed pass from Robinson to Roy Roundtree was overturned by replay officials, and a pass to Vincent Smith was ruled a Nebraska interception after the ball bounced away from the Michigan receiver as he collided with the turf.
Whatever advantage Nebraska gained from those calls was equalized by eight penalties whistled on the Cornhuskers.