Nebraska got another win on Saturday, defeating the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs 28-14, improving to 2-2 on the season. The Huskers had a slow start but got things going in the second half, relying on a solid run game.
Here are five takeaways from the game on Saturday.
Five Takeaways from Nebraska’s Win Over Louisiana Tech
Run Game is Promising
With former quarterback Taylor Martinez in attendance, sophomore quarterback Heinrich Haarberg did his best impersonation with his performance. Haarberg led the Huskers in rushing with 157 yards on 19 carries and a touchdown. Almost half of the 157 yards came on a 72-yard touchdown run by Haarberg with about 11 minutes left in the 4th quarter.
Senior running back Anthony Grant had himself a game as well. He accounted for 132 yards on the ground on 22 carries and a touchdown. Grant was a starter in 2022, but junior Gabe Ervin took over the starting duties for this season. Unfortunately, Ervin and junior Rahmir Johnson went down with season-ending injuries this week, and Grant stepped up for the opportunity.
In total, Nebraska put up 312 rushing yards on the Bulldogs’ defense and played a significant role in the win. The 312 yards on the ground was the most the Huskers put up since the 2021 season when they played Northwestern in Lincoln. Nebraska put up 412 rushing yards against the Wildcats in a 56-7 route.
Pass Game Needs to Get Better
Nebraska’s pass game could have been more inspiring on Saturday. Credit to the Bulldogs’ defense, as they held Haarberg to only 107 yards on 8/17 passes. The Huskers’ pass offense has been one of the worst in the country statistically, tied for 126th.
There were some bright spots in the passing game on Saturday—mainly the Haarberg to Thomas Fidone connection. Haarberg has thrown all three of Fidone’s touchdowns on the season. Senior wide receiver Billy Kemp IV led the team in receiving with 62 yards on five catches and no touchdowns. He did, however, get a touchdown on a jet sweep.
Nebraska has much to work on preparing for No. 2 Michigan this week. The passing game will need to be tweaked in practice.
Defense Was Good but Not Good
Defensively, Nebraska was good but not good at the same time. The Huskers held Louisiana Tech to only 41 rushing yards in the game. Nebraska’s rush defense has been very consistent this season and after a strong performance in the last two weeks, it’s been elevated to No. 1 in the country. The Blackshirts are only allowing 1.83 yards per carry, which is phenomenal.
It has been the opposite against the pass. Nebraska’s pass defense has been good at times but has been lackluster for most of the season so far. The Huskers are ranked 101st in the country against the pass, allowing 6.07 yards per attempt and 251.8 yards a game.
Nebraska’s defense will have their hands full next weekend as Michigan’s high-powered offense comes to Lincoln. The rush defense must continue its outstanding performance against the Wolverines’ one-two punch with Blake Corum and Donovan Edwards. The pass defense must be on its game against Michigan’s star quarterback, JJ McCarthy.
Heinrich Haarberg Should Be the Starter Until Proven Otherwise
Haarberg is 2-0 as a starter and has shown promise in his abilities. He has done well in taking the place of the injured Jeff Sims. Haarberg has done an excellent job at limiting turnovers, with only one fumble, which wasn’t his fault. Haarberg has also done well at running the ball, reminiscing of other former Husker quarterbacks who were good at moving the football.
The Offensive Line is Tough to Watch
The offensive line had another rough showing on Saturday. Haarberg was sacked three times on Saturday. He was under pressure many times, which led to Haarberg having to scramble out of the pocket a few times. Nebraska has the talent to have a great offensive line, but they have struggled this season and will have their hands full on Saturday against Michigan.
Overall, Nebraska has much to work on in preparing for the Wolverines. If things go well, Nebraska can give Michigan a little trouble. Again, there are many things to work on to limit mistakes and determine the quarterback situation. Regardless, it will be a tough matchup, but Nebraska gets them in their home stadium with the home fans, where they will be loud. It should be a fun one next weekend.
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