Nebraska football defeats Northern Illinois for first win under Matt Rhule

LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN) – Nebraska football defeated the Northern Illinois Huskies 35-11 in the Huskers first win of the season.

It’s the programs first win under head coach Matt Rhule.

In his first career start, quarterback Heinrich Haarberg completed 14 of 24 passes for 158 yards & 2 TD’s. He rushed for 98 yards on 21 carries.

“It was awesome, Haarberg said. “Being out there for the first time and a night game brought all the emotions. I was thinking about everything I’ve had to work for up to this. Being able to have that first drive like that and everything after. I don’t think I could have ended it better.”

Haarberg started over Jeff Sims who suffered a high ankle sprain on the road against Colorado. Rhule said the coaches made the decision to start Haarberg earlier this week due to how he looked at practice.

“I think we’ve figured out that both quarterbacks are good quarterbacks,” Matt Rhule said. “The situation that Jeff went and played in the first two games was difficult, okay? And a lot of things that weren’t his fault were pegged on Jeff Sims. So, we’ve got a lot of confidence in Jeff. We’ve known all along that Heinrich (Haarberg) can play. We’ve got a good situation. I won’t talk any hypotheticals. I don’t know who’s going to be healthy and who’s not, but I know we can win with both guys.

The Husker defense played lights out, allowing just 149 yards of total offense, the fewest by a Nebraska opponent in 13 years.

The Blackshirts also added three sacks and five tackles for loss.

“It was really awesome,” defensive lineman Nash Hutmacher said. “Those are the most fun games defensively when you are just shutting everything they do down. They try to run the ball, you stop the run. They try to pass it, you’re getting sacks and the back end is doing their job too, those are the best games you play in defensively.”

In the first quarter, the Blackshirts kept the Huskies off the board on their first drive resulting in a punt.

On the ensuing drive, Nebraska sophomore Heinrich Haarberg helped march the Husker offense down the field and would eventually connect with senior wide receiver Billy Kemp for a 10 yard touchdown!

Northern Illinois would settle for a field goal with 5:21 remaining in the first quarter.

The score would remain 7-3 heading into the second quarter.

With 3:15 left in the second quarter, Haarberg would increase the Husker lead to 14-3 after finding Thomas Fidone for a 16 yard score.

Heading into halftime the score remained 14-3.

The score remained 14-3 through most of the third quarter, however the Huskers would increase that lead to 21-3 on a redzone touchdown by Gabe Ervin Jr. His first this season!

After three quarters the Huskers were in control up 21-3.

Later in the 4th quarter, Haarberg would find the endzone once again but this time with his feet. He would score a 20 yard rushing touchdown to increase the Nebraska lead to 28-3.

Late into the 4th quarter, Nebraska would score once more via an 11 yard rushing touchdown by running back Anthony Grant making this a 35-3 game sealing the win.

The Huskies would score their first touchdown of the game with 5 seconds left on the clock but it would not be enough to complete the comeback.

Nebraska will remain at home for a game with Louisiana Tech on Saturday at 2:30 p.m. CT.

Categories: Husker Sports, Sports