The last time the #2 team in the country visited Memorial Stadium, the Huskers defeated Oklahoma 20-10 scoring the decisive TD on a play called Black 41 Flash Reverse Pass, which involved a reverse with Thunder Collins pitching to Mike Stuntz who chucked a 63-yard TD pass to a wide open Eric Crouch.
Today, the Michigan Wolverines arrived in Lincoln also the consensus #2 with a 4-0 record and a three game winning streak in the series. Jim Harbaugh returned to the sideline for his second game after serving a voluntary three game suspension for NCAA violations (case pending) while the Huskers had evened their record to 2-2 set to face the stiffest since hiring Matt Rhule.
And then the game kicked off and those memories disappeared as it was all downhill from there - at least where Michigan’s running game was concerned. The Wolverines gained 249 yards on the ground averaging 4.9 YPC - but it felt as if Corum and Edwards could bash their way straight up the middle whenever it was needed.
Nebraska couldn’t do anything on the ground, but if they had a bright spot, it was Heinrich Haarberg who completed 14-25 passes for 199 yards and a goofy pick (see below) and was up around the 80% completion rate through the 1st half. He fired accurate shots, made good decisions and 100% looked like he belonged on the field with Michigan over and over. So there was that.
Anyway, onward. If you’re gluttons for punishment, dive right into the recap below, you sick freaks.
- To no one’s surprise:
Source: Nebraska will start Heinrich Haarberg against No. 2 Michigan today in Lincoln. It'll mark his third consecutive start for the Cornhuskers, who he has led to wins over Northern Illinois and Louisiana Tech.— Pete Thamel (@PeteThamel) September 30, 2023
- Some pre-game pump vibes from the U
Every chance you get you gotta make the most of it. pic.twitter.com/hxFSJovm1y— Nebraska Football (@HuskerFootball) September 30, 2023
- Not good
- Not sure what the actual temp feels like in Memorial but the field is currently 130 degrees.
- Of course, USC-Colorado is running long, so the Huskers are starting on Fox Business Network. As always, Colorado ruins everything.
1ST QUARTER NOTES
- Michigan comes out with a 5 yard completion and then JJ McCarthy sweeping for 9 on some misdirection.
- Also, Deshon Singleton goes down with an injury followed by Blake Corum up the gut for 9 and then up the middle again for a 1st down. So this is starting off about as feared/expected.
- Box head, big baseball cap, glasses, blank expression. Jim Harbaugh officially looks like every witness sketch drawing of a serial killer.
- Blackshirts force a 4th down but Donovan Edwards right up the middle for 4 and another 1st down. Safe to say we will not be leading the nation in fewest YPC following this game.
- JJ McCarthy with enough time to make a sandwich even if the mustard was in the back of the fridge, checks the cattle futures online then hits Roman Wilson for a 29 yard TD. The Wolverines just looked more everything on that drive Michigan 7 Nebraska 0
- And Haarberg’s pass is deflected straight-up about 15 feet, caught by a Michigan player wearing 78 - yep, it’s a fat guy interception for Michigan. Goddammit.
- Wow. I may be finishing this in the first half for the first time ever. Someone scored for Michigan…running, I guess? Michigan 14 Nebraska 0
- This is how football nightmares go when I have them.
- OK, the football nightmares I have involve not being able to find my helmet…or having a helmet on and nothing else.
- And those are better than this.
- With 7:10 left in the quarter, Anthony Grant runs for 2. Their first offensive play without turning the ball over. To be fair, their 2nd play total. That sounds worse.
- Heinrich shows patience & completes a 34-yarder to Kemp who gets some solid yards after the catch.
- Of course, we can’t have a decent drive without someone jumping early to kill the advantage.
- 4th & 1. I was pulling for kick the FG so the offense comes away with points and the defense has to make a stop. Instead, we try to get Michigan to jump - not likely - burn a timeout, and then kick it.
- I was wrong. We try to muscle a bigger line instead. Great effort, nice yardage, absolutely horrible call - wrong time and team to try and line up against like you’re 1995 Nebraska - 0 points.
First quarter summary: Well, that sucked - how’s that for a summary?? Frankly, it couldn’t have started any worse. Michigan rolled the Blackshirts on the first drive. And a team who could’t afford bad breaks, got one of the worst with a ballooned deflection into the arms of the happiest 300-pounder ever. The Huskers closed the quarter with better play - including some nice Haarberg passing and the D stiffening up, but had 0 points to show for it and a 14 point mountain to climb.
2ND QUARTER NOTES
- And the 2nd quarter begins with a 6-yard completion for a Michigan 1st down, followed by a 6-yards Edwards burst - you guessed it - up the gut.
- JJ McCarthy 21 yards untouched - YES UP THE GUT!!! Michigan 21 Nebraska 0
- Two things - 1) I won’t flush the toilet on a Husker bowl game but only because the entire division is trash; 2) a game like this really shines a light on the talent difference - even allowing we’re down about a 1⁄3 of our starters.
- Heinrich scrambles for about 11 and turns to the sideline like he wants to go on 4th & 5. They say no and they should. But he’s a bright spot in today’s disaster show.
- I played around trying for a better Rocky gif and returning attention to the game, it appears to still be 21-0, but Haarberg is still throwing darts. Huskers have to punt but he’s 7-8 for 77 yards with one pick - definitely of the freak show variety and not the he threw in the middle of three defenders nonsense.
- Michigan muffs the punt and then returns it 29 yards. Because of course they do.
- A wedding party has stormed in. One of two things is true of a Husker football day betrothal - 1) that groom cares not at all about football, college or any other kind, or 2) life as he knows it has just ended. See ya back here in four years or so, champ.
- Also, that’s a power bridal move right out of the gate - she hates your friends.
- Somebody made a pissed off but also choking noise just now. I looked up and some Wolverine was in the end zone. Not sure what happened. Michigan 28 Nebraska 0
Halftime summary: There’s 28 seconds left but here we go. The offense has shown sign of life and the defense got…well…a stop. But moral victories don’t mean shit today. A step back probably had to be taken this season, but currently this team is a far cry from Scott Frost’s 2021 3-9 team some folks made fun of. That one could scrap with top 10 teams. This one can’t.
Stat-wise, total yards are 247-121. McCarthy is 9-12 116 2TDs and Heinrich is 8-10 84 and the INT. Michigan only has 131 yards rushing and no individual is over 40. The stats aren’t great but the game feels much worse possibly because of the first 6 minutes or so.
Anyway, Huskers will ready for the 2nd half:
3RD QUARTER NOTES
- Right after I got done joking we had Michigan right where we want them since we get the ball, Heinrich throws a strike to Marcus Washington for 56. I TOLE YOU!!
- Grant fumbles forward for a Husker recovery - WOOOOO!! A BREAK - but since we have gained yardage on a drive…altogether now??
- ILLEGAL PROCEDURE!! Duh.
- We go for the FG this time and…blurp. Sorry, Westside. It’s time for Timmy Bleekrode. It just is. (Please don’t make me do another rant on how gameplay sorta matters as much as practice.)
- I’m checking out for a bit. Feels like another Michigan gash drive. I’ll update the score but looking for a Yellowstone gif.
- In Georgia news, their new offensive coordinator is being exposed like a cheating ex-girlfriend who let her bf record them.
- Someone told me Michigan scored again a few minutes ago. Yup. 11 plays 78 yards, Corum TD. Michigan 35 Nebraska 0
- Someone from the wedding party just gave a margarita as they headed out to the reception.
3rd quarter summary: I’m thirsty
4TH QUARTER NOTES
- I don’t know what or how but after watching our kick returner get buried Undertaker style, I saw it’s: Michigan 38 Nebraska 0
- By the way, anybody worth a damn is smiling because they’re hearing The Undertaker’s entrance music in their head right now.
- And Heinrich, running for his life the minute he got the snap on the first, completed two straight and we’re in Wolverine territory.
- Just saw a CORN, COWS and FULLBACKS tshirt. Awesome. Recruits from western Nebraska are salivating.
- So Michigan score - bold print! - Michigan 45 Nebraska 7
- But! I only know that because I looked up to see Josh Fleeks bust off a 74 yard TD run. Where? Up the damn gut!! Michigan 45 Nebraska 7
- Inexplicably, we try an onside kick. Ah well.
- Congrats to those who took Michigan and the overs.
- One of the best texts I received today said, “We’re not playing terrible, we’re just outmatched.” Sounds like a good note on which to end.
4th quarter summary: Let’s just call this more of the same plus a Fleeks TD. Peace out.