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Chicago Sun Times
Chicago Sun-Times
21 Oct 2023

NextImg:NU QB Brendan Sullivan sacked eight times in loss at Nebraska

LINCOLN, Neb. — Heinrich Haarberg ran for a touchdown and threw for another, Nebraska sacked Brendan Sullivan eight times, and the Cornhuskers beat Northwestern 17-9 on Saturday.

The Huskers (4-3, 2-2 Big Ten) have won four of their last five games under first-year coach Matt Rhule and matched their 2022 win total.

Haarberg scored the go-ahead touchdown on a short run late just before halftime and put the Huskers up 17-6 with a long pass to Malachi Coleman early in the fourth quarter.

Jake Olsen kicked three field goals for the Wildcats (3-4, 1-3), who were held without a touchdown for the third time in 10 games.

Haarberg, who was intercepted on two of his first four passes, was 8 of 17 for 85 yards. He ran 16 times for 72 yards.

Emmett Johnson had 12 carries for 73 yards.

Brendan Sullivan started his second straight game at quarterback in place of Ben Bryant, who suffered an upper-body injury against Penn State on Sept. 30. 

The Wildcats netted zero yards over their first four possessions but came out of the first quarter tied 3-all after Haarberg’s second interception set them up at the Nebraska 17.

Anthony Tyus III ran five times for 59 yards during a 10-play, 73-yard drive that Olsen ended with a 37-yard field goal for a 6-3 Northwestern lead midway through the second.

Nebraska then went on its go-ahead touchdown drive, with a Northwestern personal foul and Haarberg’s 20-yard run setting up his 3-yard sprint to the left pylon for a 10-6 halftime lead.

The Huskers’ first three series of the second half ended with punts. On the fourth, Haarberg hit Coleman in stride for a 44-yard touchdown on first down.

Olsen’s third field goal pulled the Wildcats within eight points with 11 minutes left. Northwestern netted 13 yards on 12 plays over its last two possessions, with Sullivan getting sacked four times.


Northwestern: The Wildcats played well enough on defense to win, but the offensive line is one of the worst in the country. The eight sacks allowed matched the most by Northwestern since 2000, and the Wildcats have surrendered 30 through seven games.

Nebraska: The Huskers managed to win with an inconsistent offense that generated only 248 yards. The defense continues to carry the team and matched the eight sacks it recorded against Colorado last month.


Nebraska lost two starters on the same play early in the second quarter, a Haarberg run for 16 yards. Season receiving leader Billy Kemp injured his left leg away from the play and offensive lineman Ethan Piper injured his right leg. Both left the field with assistance.


The Huskers celebrated the 100th anniversary of Memorial Stadium. Three Nebraska National Guard soldiers honored the state’s fallen soldiers with a three-volley salute before the national anthem, Hall of Fame coach Tom Osborne gave a video message and stories about the stadium history were shown during breaks in the action.

Nebraska played its first game in the stadium on Oct. 13, 1923. Saturday marked the 592nd game at the stadium and 393rd consecutive sellout since 1962.


Northwestern: hosts Maryland next Saturday.

Nebraska: hosts Purdue next Saturday.