On a day where much of the focus was on the Michigan State defense, Nebraska held the Spartan's offense to just 12 first downs and 187 yards of total offense for a 24-3 win.
Nebraska entered the season as the odds on favorite to feature the best defense in the conference. With three preseason All-Americans, experts were touting Pelini's defense as possibly his best yet in Lincoln.
"I told a bunch of the guys on the sideline and in the locker room, I said when you prepare well, it shows on Saturday," said Pelini. "I thought that our guys were locked in this week. I think they're growing, I think their understanding is getting better, and we executed.
"I'm proud of that group, and I think they saw today what we're capable of doing when we're right, when they play the right way. That's a pretty good football team we played out there today."
Making the biggest jump on defense was the Nebraska secondary, a group that has dealt with injuries and constant rotation. After throwing for over 200 yards in four of his last five contests, Spartan quarterback Kirk Cousins was limited to 87 yards on 11-for-27 passing with one interception.
"We asked them to learn different things, and it was great to see. Ciante (Evans) got the bulk of reps this week at the nickel, and Ciante went down and (Justin) Blatchford went in there and competed and we didn't take a step back," said Pelini. "That's the way you have to do. Guys are gonna get nicked. That's why you gotta be ready to go. That's why you gotta prepare the right way, and it was pretty evident out there today--the amount of guys that made an impact on that football game."
Michigan State's lone three points came on a short field goal in the third quarter. Nebraska nearly picked off a pass on the down before, but the ball was dropped by Husker safety Daimion Stafford.