Lincoln – Nebraska’s Blackshirts continued to flex their muscles on defense, and the Huskers relied on a strong running game to churn out a 28-14 win over Louisiana Tech on Saturday.
Playing in front of a continuing-NCAA record 391st straight sellout with more than 87,000 fans on hand at Memorial Stadium, the Huskers improved to 2-2 with their second straight win, while Louisiana Tech slipped to 2-3. Nebraska put up 419 total yards, including 312 on the ground, while holding the Bulldogs to 338 total yards and just 46 rushing yards.
It was Nebraska’s first 300-yard rushing game since rolling up 427 yards against Northwestern in 2021 – a span of 21 games.
Husker quarterback Heinrich Haarberg improved to 2-0 as a starter by rolling up 157 rushing yards on 19 carries, including a 72-yard touchdown run early in the fourth quarter that pushed Nebraska’s lead to 28-7 with 11:13 remaining.
Less than three minutes later, lightning entered the area and the game was delayed for 55 minutes. Louisiana Tech held possession at the time of the delay and took advantage of the stoppage to return with their second touchdown, capping a six-play, 51-yard drive that covered 3:22 on the game clock but over an hour of real time.
Haarberg’s performance marked the highest rushing total by a Nebraska’s quarterback since Adrian Martinez also ran for 157 yards in a win over Rutgers in 2020.
Haarberg, who also completed 8-of-17 passes for 107 yards, wasn’t the only Husker back to notch a 100-yard rushing game on Saturday. Running back Anthony Grant put up his first 100-yard performance of the season and sixth of his Nebraska career with 135 yards on 22 carries, including a touchdown. It marked the first double 100-yard rushing effort by a pair of Husker backs since Rutgers in 2020, when Dedrick Mills joined Martinez across the century mark. Grant also went over the 1,000-yard rushing mark in his Nebraska career during Saturday’s game.
Grant, Haarberg and the Huskers set the tone for a strong second half with a nine-play, 85-yard march on the opening drive of the half that resulted in Grant’s three-yard touchdown run. The drive also featured a 34-yard burst by Grant and a 19-yard run by the Husker back on a 4th-and-1 from the NU 21 to set up his score.
Grant’s touchdown run put him over the 100-yard mark on the day, pushing his total to 102 yards on just 13 carries after the opening drive of the third quarter.
In the second half, the Huskers rushed for 187 yards on 25 carries after going for 125 yards on 23 carries in the opening 30 minutes.
The Blackshirts held the Bulldogs scoreless in the third quarter, before Haarberg connected with tight end Thomas Fidone for a 29-yard touchdown on the opening play of the fourth quarter to put the Big Red up 21-7. It marked Fidone’s third consecutive game with a touchdown reception – the first time since 2008 that a Husker tight end (Mike McNeill) hauled in a touchdown in three straight contests.
After a scoreless first quarter, Nebraska took a 7-0 lead on Billy Kemp’s nine-yard touchdown run that capped a nine-play, 79-yard drive that was highlighted by place-kicker/holder Timmy Bleekrode’s 10-yard run on a fake field goal attempt that converted a 4th-and-4 chance from the Louisiana Tech 19-yard-line.
Louisiana Tech provided what appeared to be an immediate answer with Cyrus Allen’s kickoff return for a touchdown, only to have it called back by a holding penalty. However, the Bulldogs still provided an answer with a 10-play, 87-yard drive that included a 28-yard pass from quarterback Jack Turner to Allen. The big pass play set up a 14-yard Jacob Fields touchdown run that tied the game at 7-7 with 6:07 left in the half.
Turner finished the day with 292 yards on 27-of-42 passing, while Fields led Louisiana Tech with 28 yards on six carries, including the only rushing touchdown for the Bulldogs.
Omar Brown led the Husker defense with eight tackles, while Isaac Gifford added seven stops and the game’s only forced turnover with his interception on Louisiana Tech’s final offensive play of the game. John Bullock and DeShon Singleton both added seven stops for the Blackshirts.
Nebraska returns to Memorial Stadium next Saturday to take on Michigan. Kickoff with the Wolverines is set for 2:30 p.m. (CT) with live national television coverage by FOX.