clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

HUSKERS FOOTBALL RECAP: Nebraska 17 Northwestern 9

It wasn’t pretty - not even close - but the Blackshirts stood tall and the offense recovered from a putrid start to do just enough.

Northwestern v Nebraska
The heroes once again.
Photo by Steven Branscombe/Getty Images

Since joining the Big 10, when Northwestern and the Huskers have met, there have been few opportunities to sneak out early:

2011 - Northwestern hangs on to win a back & forth affair 28-25 in Lincoln.
2012 - Taylor Martinez throws for 342 yards with two TDs in the final 6 minutes to lead the Huskers to a 29-28 victory in Evanston after trailing 28-16 in the 4th quarter.
2013 - THE Hail Mary. Kellogg to Westerkamp. Enough said.
2015 - A 2-point conversion attempt after a Tommy Armstrong rushing TD fails with 4:23 left and Northwestern hangs on 30-28 to end a Husker 3-game winning streak in the series.
2017 - Clayton Thorson’s two TD runs - one in the 4th quarter and one in OT - lead Northwestern back then past the Huskers 31-24.
2018 - The Wildcats make it two OT victories in a row after coming back in the 4th from 10 down and kicking the FG in OT for the 34-31 win.
2019 - In a season of kicking game horrors stronger than anything in the Saw series, the bright spot emerges when walk-on Lane McCallum pops the most nail-biting 24-yarder in school history as time expires for a 13-10 win.
2022 - Even though the sting is eased in Dublin where a wi-fi shutdown is made whole with free beer, Northwestern takes a 31-24 lead with over 11 minutes left, gets the ball back and grounds almost all the time off the clock in an excruciating loss.

Today almost entered that list - but not quite. The Huskers got off to their 3rd straight godawful start with 2 Haarberg picks in the 1st three drives. But the Blackshirts bailed them out with a stop and a FG. Despite the TD and a 2-point conversion difference, the Huskers never allowed the Wildcats to threaten.

Two things seemed to be the key (I haven’t slept on this yet.):

1) As always, the defense.

2) A 4th quarter that was managed and controlled as far as no turnovers and field position. (See below)

The Huskers move to 4-3 and the only game to worry about right now is Purdue. Keep your superstitions on fire because we gotta fight that black magic with fire. See you next week.


  • The benefits of a bye-week are activated and the injury report is clear. (Doesn’t include players who have been lost for the season.) Should also note that even though he has been active most of the year, Teddy Prochazka appears nowhere near his 100% after recovering from two major injuries. And though pronounced 100%, Jeff Sims bears watching if he gets in as high ankle sprains, like turf toe, tend to linger.
  • Deshon Singleton is still also out - but not on the report.
  • A certain volleyball game won’t be far from people’s minds and as Tom Shatel points out both teams have goals. The football team is looking to take a step in the right direction despite a heinous performance history in recent years after starting 3-3. The ladies look to end a 10-game losing streak to Wisconsin in an epic #1 vs. #2 battle of unbeaten teams.
  • QB1 Ben Bryant of the Wildcats will miss the game with injury. However backup Brendan Sullivan may present problems with his legs as he will run it almost as often as he throws it. On a day where Huskers are seeking sacks, this may be problematic.
  • Okay, then.
  • Looks like we’ll be having some blue glove action to with the jerseys.
  • Also looks like weather should be just about perfect.
  • Emmitt Johnson starting at RB. (???) Apparently for the 2nd straight game, missed that against Illinois.


  • It’s a sparse football crowd in Tiger Tom’s for kickoff but the ones who are here are ready. They just cheered the weather as Nebraska’s start does not scream bowl eligible as Haarberg is picked off on the opening play.
  • Maybe Jeff Sims time?.. but it is just one play.
  • For the record, that’s three straight horrific starts - 1) Michigan rolls for a TD; 2) Illinois rolls for 84 yards; 3) this.
  • Defense saves the day again and the offense may start on its own 1 even thought the NW player appeared to step on the goal line and the ball broke the plane. Ref was right there but Big 10 is gonna Big 10.
  • Should have a 1st down, 3rd down pass right through the hands of Fidone and NW starts in Husker territory after the punt.
  • Another stop for the Blackshirts and Kemp Santino’s it on the 15.
  • There was just a Northwestern commercial showing 6 or 7 decades of the band spelling “N”. It was as inspiring Nebraska’s sweep with Billy Kemp that got blown into Cass County.
  • Followed by another pass off Fidone’s hands, this time for Haarberg’s 2nd pick.
  • Blackshirts get yet another stop but it costs a FG this time. Northwestern 3 Huskers 0
  • Haarberg with a completion to Alex Bullock and a 10 yard dash by Emmitt for two first downs.
  • Grant finally enters the game but then heads right back out.
  • On 3rd down , yep, it’s another drop.
  • Alvano bangs a 47-yarder into the wind and I can’t tell you how bad we needed that. Nebraska 3 Northwestern 3
  • And with the Wildcats unable to budge the Blackshirts, it’s the Big 10 refs to the rescue with a 15 yards PF penalty for hands to face.
  • The refs have Northwestern’s only first down as the D holds. Naturally, it’s a fair catch but then Grant goes for 11. Fun quarter.

First quarter summary: The Blackshirts win the gold star for the 1st quarter. The offense did things that would make Iowa go, “Boy, that was just shitty.”
To be fair, since they got away from the Air Raid, the offense actually drove the ball a little. But let’s just move on.


  • Stunningly the Huskers don’t get their 1st procedure flag until the 2nd quarter.
  • That causes a 3rd & 13 but Haarberg scrambles for 16 and a 1st down. Of course, we know punishment must meted out for any shred of offensive success - both Billy Kemp and Ethan Piper are down.
  • Maybe Piper being out will cut down on the picks since Haarberg will be sacked before an errant throw. In an unrelated story, Haarberg is sacked.
  • Thank gawd NW is slow or else it’s 10-3 instead of 3-3 after a 39 yard run by Anthony Tyus where he dragged down from behind.
  • After getting shitmixed for about 75 yards on the drive, John Bullock & company drop the hammer for a 4 yard loss. A nice run comes short of the 1st.
  • But it’s enough for a “That’s Big 10 as hell!” score of. Northwestern 6 Nebraska 3
  • And my gawd, it’s a catch by Fidone!
  • Emmitt for a first down and Haarberg hits Boerkircher for 7. Emmitt is stuffed for 2 with a huge 3rd down ahead.
  • And Haarberg bores ahead for the 1st.
  • Sidebar: The huge problem this season is an inability to finish drives. 46 yards into this drive, getting 6 now would be an incredible boost.
  • Haarberg with a big 20 yard run on the option keeper for 1st and goal.
  • He follows it up with a 3-yard keeper for a Husker TD! Or maybe not, here comes a review - no one’s nervous, right? Play stands. Huskers 10 Perverts 6
  • Sidebar: Tiger Tom’s has a women’s golf tourney every fall called the Estrogen Open. The players have starting milling in as their rounds end and if you think this isn’t their chance to cut loose x 5? Then you are very wrong. Things are about to pick up.
  • With :10 left, the network is dicking around to squeeze in some more ads. Glad they cut down on the amount of actual game time.
  • NW QB Brendan Sullivan showing supreme overconfidence given the field position attempts a Hail Mary and Tommie Hill fields the punt pass to end the half.

Halftime summary: The Huskers and Wildcats are competing hard for the weekly BFerentz Daddy’s Li’l OC Award for offensive ineptitude. The Wildcats took the lead when the Huskers ripped off a 5+ minute 10 play 77 yard drive for a touchdown. NW’s earlier attempt to do the same netted only 73 yards and a FG.

The golf girls are firing up, I just heard my first WHOOO-HOOOO!!!!, followed by a HaHaHAAAAAA (gasp gasp) HEEEEEEEEE!!!! This is serious business - last year featured a wonderful older gal helping out with the tourney by driving around in a cart dressed as a nun and getting stoned AF! The thing is I can’t sneak off because I want to watch the volleyball.

Tonight holds promise for so much debauchery as there will be booze and so many chemicals and so much mind-altering vegetation in play. People will rut like swine and howl at the moon as the clock creeps into morning. I must protect myself.


  • Isaac Gifford saves the the day as Sullivan gets off a screen pass as he’s drilled. An outnumbered Gifford successfully sheds the blockers and ties up Cam Porter who looked like he’d burst free on 3rd & 10.
  • Alex Bullock tried to return a punt! I mean, didn’t gain anything, but still. We tried to return a punt!
  • Josh Fleeks enters the game and promptly fumbles but HH may have held on to the handoff too long. However Haarberg hits Fidone for 10 and runs for 8 more and a 1st down.
  • HH muffs a snap. This is as tentative as he has looked all season.
  • I also want to add that Northwestern looks pretty dirty at times. Not extra effort stuff, lots of dives after the whistle and nonsense in the piles when we have the ball.
  • And here we go. A team with zero passing ability just gorks up a prayer under pressure, so of course it drops in complete for 32 yards.
  • More cheap shit from NW but caught and flagged for 15 this time.
  • Lmao, Northwestern forgets how slow they are and tries the QB throwback. The cornerback on that side never budged.
  • The Wildcats try a 54-yard FG and much like their Hail Mary attempt, it didn’t make it.
  • The run has been working so of course we go 3 & out with a running QB having an awful day in the air.
  • Emmitt for 24!!
  • Huskers can’t go anywhere else but Buschini bombs a punt for 55.
  • A third quarter of horrible football mercifully ends.

3rd quarter summary:


  • The good news is Northwestern is winning the bad penalties battle today.
  • The Blackshirts really are getting it done again. There’s been a couple blips but that’s holding them to a very high standard. Jimari and Polar Bear corral Sullivan for a 6 yard sack and Nebraska takes over on the NW 44.
  • And with no reason to do so, it’s HH bombs away to Malachi Coleman for 44 yards! Huskers 17 Northwestern 6
  • Why can’t we have nice things? Sullivan to Bryce Kurtz for 66.
  • At least no one lost for the season that time.
  • The defense allows nothing else but the chip shot makes it Huskers 17 Perverts 9
  • In case you can’t tell, I really want this game. All the creeps who thought it was fun to get naked and crawl all over freshmen and the assistant coaches who let it happen and even participated are still there. They’re not Penn State gross, but they’re still gross. Please finish them off.
  • Fleeks pops a nice 10-yarder for a 1st. And Ben Scott is down. I really want to start seeing some replays - or a few of their players on the deck.
  • Ok, the worst bright spot ever? At least the 4th quarter has started with a TD and 5 plays 21 yards drive. Compared to Illinois…
  • Cam Lenhardt blows up a slow sweep. All for naught as NW goes for 14 through the air on 3rd down. If the Blackshirts have a weak link, 3rd down is it.
  • Sullivan is one of those QB’s like Shadeur Sanders who are a little fast - but not as fast as they think they are. He is sacked on 3rd and long.
  • They punt and the Huskers punt return team is flagged for holding. OK.
  • Haarberg gets shoved down after picking up 15 - and the NW dork who shoved him down stands over him for a sec. Um, ok. You showed him?
  • On 2nd and 7, Huskers run the goal line offense with Emmett for 3. Ends up in a punt to the Husker 13, so they continue to control the field position.
  • A Sullivan scramble followed by a completion result in 2 1st downs but Princewill & Bullock reply with a sack. Sullivan bitches for a late hit as he threw.
  • Oh, Karen.
  • Sanford could’ve ended it right there but dropped the pick.
  • What looks like all of Husker Nation puts Sullivan on his ass for a 16 yard loss on 4th & 16. Perfect.

4th quarter summary:

This 4th quarter made me happier than the Illinois 4th quarter gave me red ass. This time?

  • 1 play 44 yard TD
  • 5 plays 21 yards Punt
  • 4 plays 23 yards Punt
  • Take the knee, game over

So that’s the takeaway for me. As ugly as things looked - and, my Gawd, that start - seeing them get a TD and maintain the field position advantage was a huge turnaround and a step in the right direction.

NCAA Football: Northwestern at Nebraska Dylan Widger-USA TODAY Sports

Nebraska Cornhuskers