With Nebraska’s 28-14 win over Sonny Cumbie and the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs, the Big Red has now improved to 2-0 in Memorial Stadium and 2-2 in the Matt Rhule era. But what are the top storylines from the game? Let’s break it down.
Nebraska Over Louisiana Tech
Louisiana Tech Struggles With Heinrich Haarberg
In the first half quarterback Heinrich Haarberg struggled to pass the ball. He only completed four of his twelve passes, which led the Cornhuskers to only have 63 passing yards. But in the second half, he was able to make up for it by using his feet. On the team’s third drive of the game, he scrambled for 43 yards to set up a Billy Kemp nine-yard touchdown. And after running back Anthony Grant scored in the second quarter, the Kearney Catholic grad showed off his superiority in the air, throwing a short pass to allow tight end Thomas to run it in for a 29-yard touchdown. But the key moment in the contest was when he outran several Bulldog defenders for a long 72-yard touchdown. This shows he has the tools to break open a game. Now, it is just a matter of creating the same opportunities against Michigan.
Anthony Grant Fulfills His Obligation
Going into Louisiana Tech, there were some legitimate concerns about how Grant would perform as Nebraska’s starting running back. But his matchup against the Bulldogs allowed him to silence his critics. He was a vital part of NU’s game plan, keeping the Cornhuskers offense constantly on the attack with his first down runs. He also provided a spark when he ran for a touchdown early in the third quarter. Because of these efforts, he would end up rushing for 135 yards in his first game of the Rhule era. But now with the Michigan Wolverines juggernaut coming to Memorial Stadium, can Grant find a way to deliver his physical running style in that matchup? There are certainly signs that he can deliver, but the senior will have his work cut out for him.
Defense Falters Amid A Rain Delay
Aside from a shaky drive by NU’s defense that allowed a touchdown by Bulldog running back Jacob Fields, the Cornhuskers were able to pitch a shutout in the first half. On just 21 carries, the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs only managed to net two yards per carry for 46 yards. And then there was the rain delay. For 56 minutes, the Nebraska football team was able to catch its breath and regroup for the rest of the game. But the Cornhuskers showed that they couldn’t handle the long break. This was shown when the defense let Louisiana Tech wide receiver Cyrus Allen score at the end of the game. It helps that Issac Gifford came down with an interception to cement the win, but the Huskers will need more than one takeaway if they want to win against the Wolverines.
Special Teams Adds Wrinkle To Bulldogs
Early in the second quarter against The Bulldogs, freshman kicker Tristan Alvano lined up for a 37-yard field goal. And then he didn’t. Instead, it was junior holder Timmy Bleekrode took off running for 10 yards to set Nebraska up in the end zone. Credit Ed Foley for drawing up an excellent game plan that drew the Bulldogs off guard. And as usual, special teams expert Phalen Sanford was in his element when he knocked the ball out of Smoke Harris’s hands on a punt return. All in all, another good day for Nebraska’s special teams. Now, can they replicate the same results next week?