Nebraska 35
N. Illinois 11

Sept. 16, 2023 • 6 p.m. Central
Memorial Stadium •Lincoln, NE • FS1
1st2nd3rd4th F 
N. Illinois300811
First quarter
NEB: Billy Kemp 10 pass from Heinrich Haarberg (Tristan Alvano kick) 9:39
NIU: Jake Seibert 30 field goal, 2:13
Second quarter
NEB: Thomas Fidone 16 pass from Haarberg (Alvano kick) 3:15
Third quarter
NEB: Gabe Ervin 3 run (Alvano kick) 1:00
Fourth quarter
NEB: Haarberg 20 run (Alvano kick) 8:19
NEB: Anthony Grant 11 run (Alvano kick) 3:23
NIU: Chris Carter 4 pass from Ethan Hampton (Billy Dozier pass from Hampton) 0:04

Thomas Fidone scores on a 16-yard pass play in the second quarter. | Kenny Larabee, KLIN
                         NIU       NEB 
FIRST DOWNS ............. 12        23
  RUSHING ................ 3        14
  PASSING ................ 7         9
  PENALTY ................ 2         0
RUSHES-NET YARDS ..... 22-26    44-224
NET YARDS PASSING ...... 123       158
  COMP-ATT-INT ..... 17-36-1   14-24-0
TOTAL OFFENSE ....... 62-149    68-382
FUMBLE-LOST ............ 0-0       1-1
PENALIZED-YARDS ....... 2-10      5-70
PUNTS-AVERAGE ......... 9-41      6-43
PUNT RETURNS-YDS ...... 1--2       2-3
KICKOFF RETURNS-YDS ... 1-13      2-16
INTERCEPTIONS-YARDS .... 0-0      1-12
POSSESSION TIME ...... 24:16     35:44
THIRD-DOWN CONV. ...... 4-15      8-14
FOURTH-DOWN CONV. ...... 1-1       0-0
RED ZONE SCORES ........ 2-2       5-5
SACKS BY-YARDS ......... 1-7      3-27

  NIU: Antario Brown 8-16; Gavin Williams 4-14; Kendrell Flowers 3-10; Brock Lampe 2-4; Rocky Lombardi 5-minus-18.
  NEB: Heinrich Haarberg 21-98; Gabe Ervin 14-67; Anthony Grant 7-46; Trevin Luben 1-18; Tommi Hill 1-minus-5.

  NIU: Rocky Lombardi 11-28-1 73; Ethan Hampton 6-8-0 50.
  NEB: Heinrich Haarberg 14-24-0 158.

  NIU: Davis Patterson 2-30; Dan Pardridge 2-18; Billy Dozier 1-17; Chris Carter 2-12; Brock Lampe 1-9, Keyshaun Pipkin 1-8; Kacper Rutkiewicz 2-7; Jalen Johnson 1-6; Travon Rudolph 1-5; Kendrell Flowers 1-3; Gavin Williams 1-3; Grayson Barnes 1-3; Antario Brown 1-2.
  NEB: Thomas Fidone 4-42; Marcus Washington 2-37; Alex Bullock 1-33; Gabe Ervin 2-20; Billy Kemp 3-13; Anthony Grant 1-9; Josh Fleeks 1-4.

Attendance: 86,875


Stats & Recap
Complete Stats
Complete stats

Nebraska’s Kai Wallin applies pressure as NIU quarterback Rocky Lombardi gets a pass away. | Kenny Larabee, KLIN

Haarberg starts, defense shines in first Husker win of season

The Huskers scored in every quarter with Heinrich Haarberg at quarterback, and the defense kept Northern Illinois clamped down until garbage time for a 35-11 win.

Haarberg, making his first start in place of the injured Jeff Sims, ran for 98 yards and a touchdown and passed for 158 yards and two more scores. The Huskers rushed for 224 yards and averaged 5.1 yards per carry.

Northern Illinois, meanwhile, had little success until the Huskies’ final possession, in which they gained half of their 149 yards of total offense. Until their touchdown with four seconds left, their only score came on a field goal set up by a fumble recovery at the Nebraska 5. The Blackshirts held Northern Illinois to 26 rushing yards and limited NIU’s starting quarterback, Rocky Lombardi, to 11-for-28 passing for 73 yards.

Matt Rhule

It was Matt Rhule’s first win in three tries as the Huskers’ head coach. | Kenny Larabee, KLIN
Omaha World-Herald*
Lincoln Journal Star*
More Neb. Sources
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Pregame & team info
Billy Kemp scores Nebraska's first touchdown. | Kenny Larabee, KLIN



Less was more for Matt Rhule — enough for his first win at Nebraska. Less drama. Fewer turnovers. A noticeable dropoff in damaging penalties.

HuskerMax/All Huskers

The Huskies didn't know what to do with Nash Hutmacher, who ... already had a career high six tackles at the half.


When the stuff you talk about all the time is what you succeed at in the first win of the season, that’s gonna go over pretty well in the locker room.

All Huskers/KLIN

What we saw on Saturday night was an offense that carried its own weight.

Omaha World-Herald

The defensive swarm came all night, full freight, all gas, no fakes, holding the fort down until backup quarterback Heinrich Haarberg ... fully got his playmaking shoes underneath him.

Omaha World-Herald

There’s a polar bear on the loose, y’all. No. 0 was playing like a man on fire on Saturday.

Lincoln Journal Star

Nebraska’s open-field tackling — a huge weakness in 2022 — is now a strength.

Daily Nebraskan
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