Nov 24, 2023; Lincoln, Nebraska, USA; Iowa Hawkeyes tight end Steven Stilianos (86) catches a pass against the Nebraska Cornhuskers at Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Reese Strickland-USA TODAY Sports

Backup Marshall Meeder’s FG lifts No. 17 Iowa over Nebraska

Backup kicker Marshall Meeder kicked a 38-yard field goal as time expired to give No. 17 Iowa a 13-10 win at Nebraska in a Big Ten Conference game on Friday afternoon in Lincoln, Neb.

Meeder, a transfer from Central Michigan who had not appeared in a game this season, was called on for the game-winning kick after starter Drew Stevens had a pair of field goals blocked in the first half.

Iowa defensive lineman Ethan Hurkett intercepted a pass near midfield with 15 seconds left and Leshon Williams broke off a 22-yard run to set up Meeder’s kick. Williams ran for 111 yards on 16 carries.

Iowa (10-2, 7-2) won the Heroes Trophy despite being outgained 264-257 and managing only 57 yards in the second half.

The Hawkeyes improved to 5-1 in one-score games and will play next week in the Big Ten championship game in Indianapolis.

Nebraska (5-7, 3-6) dropped its fourth straight game, all by one score, to miss out on a bowl game for the seventh straight season.

Iowa led 10-7 at the half, but Nebraska tied it on a 44-yard field goal from Tristan Alvano with 6:18 left in the third quarter. Alvano had a chance to give the Cornhuskers a lead with 5:07 left in the fourth but his second 44-yard attempt sailed wide left.

Nebraska’s Tommi Hill intercepted Iowa’s Deacon Hill near midfield with 31 seconds left before Cornhuskers quarterback Chubba Purdy matched that interception. Purdy also lost a fumble as Nebraska turned it over three times, giving it an FBS-worst 31 turnovers this season.

Iowa got the scoring going early in the second quarter on a 1-yard Deacon Hill run, a touchdown set up by his 37-yard pass to tight end Steven Stilianos.

The Hawkeyes made it 10-0 with 5:12 left before halftime on Stevens’ 28-yard field goal. Nebraska got on board with 3:43 left in the second on a 66-yard TD pass from Purdy to Jaylen Lloyd.

–Field Level Media

Nov 11, 2023; Madison, Wisconsin, USA; Wisconsin quarterback Tanner Mordecai (8) is sacked by Northwestern defensive lineman Aidan Hubbard (91) during the third quarter at Camp Randall Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

Nebraska and Wisconsin still chasing bowl eligibility

Wisconsin and Nebraska both will attempt to become bowl eligible when the stumbling Big Ten teams meet Saturday night in Madison, Wis.

Wisconsin (5-5, 3-4 Big Ten) is coming off an embarrassing 24-10 loss at home to Northwestern. Nebraska (5-5, 3-4) lost at home to Maryland, 13-10, on a field goal as time expired.

The Badgers and Cornhuskers are in a five-way tie for second, two games behind Iowa in the Big Ten West.

The Badgers, picked to win the West in the preseason poll under first-year coach Luke Fickell, have lost three straight. Wisconsin has played in a bowl game in each of the last 21 seasons, the longest active streak in the Big Ten and the third longest in FBS football.

The Wisconsin defense was shredded in the first half by Northwestern, which had touchdown drives of 79, 68 and 90 yards and then added a field goal for a 24-3 halftime lead.

“There’s no answers,” Wisconsin safety Hunter Wohler said. “We just have to play better. We come out soft. We come out flat. We have zero energy on either side of the ball. And we get whooped around the field.”

Tanner Mordecai returned after missing three games with a broken throwing hand and completed 31 of 45 passes for 255 yards, but no touchdowns. Leading rusher Braelon Allen tried to return after missing the previous game with an ankle injury, but left again after gaining 3 yards on three carries.

Nebraska, which last played in a bowl game to conclude the 2016 season, has committed 27 turnovers, for a minus-14 turnover margin. The Huskers had five turnovers in the loss to Maryland, including three in the fourth quarter.

Quarterback Heinrich Haarberg came away with an ankle injury against Maryland, and both Jeff Sims and Chubba Purdy played. All three QBs threw at least one interception as the Huskers passed for just 86 yards.

Nebraska coach Matt Rhule said Monday that the starter vs. Wisconsin might not be known until game time.

The Badgers have won nine straight against Nebraska, including all eight since the Freedom Trophy was introduced in 2014. Wisconsin has not lost a home game in the series and is 10-1 vs. the Cornhuskers since they joined the Big Ten in 2011.

“They’re a really good football team with really good players,” Rhule said of the Badgers. “Big, physical, raw, athletic. Luke Fickell’s an excellent football coach.”

–Field Level Media

Nov 11, 2023; Lincoln, Nebraska, USA; Nebraska Cornhuskers wide receiver Billy Kemp IV (1) is brought down by Maryland Terrapins defensive back Beau Brade (2) during the second quarter at Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Dylan Widger-USA TODAY Sports

Last-second field goal lifts Maryland over Nebraska

Jack Howes made a 24-yard field goal as time expired and Maryland became bowl-eligible for the third straight year by grinding out a 13-10 victory over host Nebraska on Saturday in Lincoln, Neb.

The Terrapins’ defense recorded five takeaways, and Tarheeb Still’s interception of Nebraska third-string quarterback Chubba Purdy set the stage for a 12-play, 75-yard drive.

Tai Felton drew pass interference on third down to keep Maryland’s drive alive. Roman Hemby’s 21-yard run and completions to Corey Dyches and Jeshaun Jones got Maryland (6-4, 3-4 Big Ten) in position for the winning kick.

Taulia Tagovailoa went 27-for-40 for 283 passing yards, a touchdown and an interception for Maryland, which ended a four-game losing streak. Felton had five catches for 73 yards and a touchdown, and Still and Dante Trader Jr. each recorded two interceptions.

Jeff Sims replaced injured starting quarterback Heinrich Haarberg for the Cornhuskers (5-5, 3-4), but after two interceptions and a lost fumble, Sims was benched for Purdy in the fourth quarter.

Purdy threw a 24-yard completion and ran three times for 33 yards on his first drive, but it ended with a thud when he tossed an interception to Still in the end zone.

Haarberg went 1-for-5 for 0 yards and an interception caught by Trader before he suffered an apparent leg injury in the second quarter.

Sims entered and took Nebraska on a 12-play, 58-yard drive. Emmett Johnson converted one fourth-and-2 run, but another fourth-and-2 play from the Maryland 27-yard line was stuffed.

Tagovailoa hit Felton for 53 yards on the very next play, setting up a 16-yard touchdown catch-and-run by Felton to break the scoreless tie with 2:31 before halftime.

Felton, however, lost a fumble on the first drive of the second half to give Nebraska a short field. Freshman fullback Janiran Bonner scored his first career touchdown on third-and-goal from the 2.

Tagovailoa was intercepted by Javin Wright on the next Maryland possession, made worse by Jones’ unsportsmanlike conduct after the play. That set up Nebraska’s Tristan Alvano for the go-ahead 38-yard field goal with 8:26 left in the third.

A long Terrapins drive was stopped on a failed fourth-and-1 run from Nebraska’s 17. But Sims fumbled on the first play of the fourth quarter, Maryland recovered and Howes was able to tie the game 10-10 with a 35-yard field goal.

Trader intercepted Sims on the next possession, but Hemby lost a fumble inside Nebraska’s 5-yard line, setting up Purdy’s late drive.

–Field Level Media

Nebraska's Heinrich Haarberg runs for a touchdown against Michigan State during the second quarter on Saturday, Nov. 4, 2023, at Spartan Stadium in East Lansing.

Nebraska looking to extend Maryland’s misery

Nebraska may be headed in the right direction, but last weekend’s loss still got coach Matt Rhule fired up.

Either Nebraska or visiting Maryland will achieve bowl eligibility when they face off Saturday in Big Ten action in Lincoln, Neb.

The Cornhuskers (5-4, 3-3) had won three straight before a 20-17 loss at Michigan State. While claiming his program isn’t made up of “excuse-makers,” Rhule bemoaned officiating in his team’s close losses to Minnesota and Michigan State while getting in a dig at scandal-plagued Michigan, which beat Nebraska 45-7 in September.

“I feel bad for our players,” Rhule said Monday. “We’re sticking with 5-4, we own 5-4 (as a record), but we had one game where the team scouted us and we’ve had two games where replay was wrong.”

Replay officials did not intervene to review a called fumble on Nebraska quarterback Heinrich Haarberg at the end of Saturday’s game. Haarberg’s arm appeared to already be in a throwing motion, and had the call been changed to an incompletion, Nebraska could have had more time for a last-ditch play before the buzzer.

All the same, the Huskers possess their best record in seven years. One more win will make them eligible for a bowl for the first time since a nine-win campaign in 2016 led to a loss in the Music City Bowl.

Rhule said Nebraska is sticking with Haarberg, the team’s leading passer (967 yards) and rusher (477). He had two interceptions and lost a fumble against the Spartans.

Maryland (5-4, 2-4) has gone backward since a 5-0 start. The Terrapins have allowed 37 points per game during a four-game skid, exacerbated by last Saturday’s 51-15 drubbing at home to then-No. 11 Penn State.

“Of the four losses we’ve had, this one is one that is not even worth (players) watching the tape, because we came nowhere close to the standard that we have come to expect for our program,” coach Mike Locksley said Tuesday.

Taulia Tagovailoa was sacked six times, threw one interception and lost a fumble. Maryland’s 16 rushing attempts against Penn State netted a loss of 49 yards.

“Our inability to run the ball just comes with our inability to execute, and we’ve struggled with the interior part of our run game,” Locksley said. “… We’re going to work real hard this week to figure out how the best way is for us to run the football.”

–Field Level Media

Nov 4, 2023; East Lansing, Michigan, USA;  Michigan State Spartans defensive back Caleb Coley (3) tackles Nebraska Cornhuskers wide receiver Alex Bullock (84) in spite of  tight end Thomas Fidone II (24) at Spartan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Dale Young-USA TODAY Sports

Michigan State tops Nebraska, halts 6-game skid

Two quarterbacks threw touchdown passes as Michigan State snapped a six-game skid, beating visiting Nebraska 20-17 in a Big Ten Conference game on Saturday afternoon in East Lansing, Mich.

The Spartans (3-6, 1-5 Big Ten) won for the first time since Sept. 9 and first time in seven tries under interim head coach Harlon Barnett, who took over after Mel Tucker was suspended and later fired amid sexual harassment allegations.

Nebraska (5-4, 3-3) was trying to become bowl eligible for the first time since 2016 but had a three-game win streak snapped. It was only the third time this season the Cornhuskers allowed more than 14 points.

Tied at 10 at the half, Michigan State took a 13-10 lead with 5:11 left in the third quarter on a 50-yard Jonathan Kim field goal. The Spartans built a 10-point advantage with 12:13 remaining on Montorie Foster Jr.’s 25-yard TD catch from Sam Leavitt.

Leavitt was 1 of 2 for 25 yards while starter Katin Houser was 13 of 20 for 165 yards and a touchdown.

A 43-yard run by Nebraska quarterback Heinrich Haarberg set up Emmett Johnson’s 4-yard TD run with 3:35 remaining, but after getting the ball back with under three minutes to go, Haarberg lost a fumble. It was his third turnover, along with two interceptions, as he threw for 129 yards on 12-of-28 passing and added a rushing TD.

MSU got a field goal on its opening drive, then later intercepted a pass at its own 4, but fell behind early in the second quarter when Haarberg scored on a 5-yard run. The Spartans retook the lead on an 11-yard TD pass from Houser to Christian Fitzpatrick with 9:14 left in the first half, a score set up by a 42-yard pass from wide receiver Alante Brown to Foster.

Foster finished with four catches for 94 yards.

Nebraska hosts Maryland next Saturday, while Michigan State visits No. 1 Ohio State.

–Field Level Media

Oct 28, 2023; Lincoln, Nebraska, USA; Nebraska Cornhuskers head coach Matt Rhule reacts after a fourth down stop against the Purdue Boilermakers during the fourth quarter at Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Dylan Widger-USA TODAY Sports

Streaking Nebraska riding defense against struggling Michigan State

Nebraska will try to use the same formula that has led to a three-game win streak when it visits Michigan State on Saturday in East Lansing, Mich.

The Cornhuskers (5-3, 3-2 Big Ten) have limited their last three opponents to a combined 30 points, most recently beating Purdue 31-14 at home to move within a game of being bowl eligible for the first time in seven years. Overall, they’re allowing 18.6 points per game, sixth best in the conference and 21st nationally.

A year ago, they were near the bottom of the Big Ten in most defensive categories, but first-year coach Matt Rhule still isn’t satisfied.

“We didn’t play nearly as well on defense as the stats denoted,” Rhule said.

Michigan State (2-6, 0-5) is the one giving up a lot of points (27.8 per game) and not scoring many (18.0), reaching the 20-point mark only once during a six-game losing streak. The Spartans’ season went into disarray in mid-September when coach Mel Tucker was suspended, and eventually fired, over allegations of sexual harassment.

The most recent loss, 27-12 at Minnesota, saw the Spartans allow only 10 points through the first three quarters after losing 49-0 the previous week.

“That’s something we’ve got to build on,” interim MSU coach Harlon Barnett said.

Nebraska has been able to win of late despite being near the bottom nationally in turnover margin at minus-9. The Cornhuskers have given it away 19 times, including nine in the past three games.

“We’re last in the nation in fumbles (24), last in the nation in fumbles lost (11),” Rhule said. “That falls squarely on my head.”

Another win will not only ensure Nebraska goes bowling for the first time since playing in the Music City Bowl in 2016 but also will give the program its longest win streak since an eight-game run in 2015-16.

MSU is trying to avoid matching the seven-game skid it had in 2016, when it went 3-9 for the Spartans’ worst season since 1994.

Nebraska holds a 9-3 lead in the series, winning six of seven meetings at home, but the Spartans took the last matchup 23-20 in overtime in East Lansing in 2021.

–Field Level Media

Oct 7, 2023; Iowa City, Iowa, USA; Purdue Boilermakers quarterback Hudson Card (1) throws a pass against the Iowa Hawkeyes during the first quarter at Kinnick Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

Purdue rested and ready for Nebraska challenge

A rested Purdue team will attempt to take down a banged-up Nebraska squad when the Big Ten programs meet Saturday in Lincoln, Neb.

The Boilermakers (2-5, 1-3) are coming off a bye after losing four of five, most recently by 34 points to No. 3 Ohio State on Oct. 14. The time off allowed Purdue to get healthy and refreshed for the stretch run.

“The buy-in is exactly what you want it to be,” first-year coach Ryan Walters said. “The guys that were dinged up are starting to look like themselves.”

The same can’t be said for Nebraska. The Cornhuskers (4-3, 2-2) beat Northwestern 17-9 at home last weekend for their second straight win, but it came at a cost with injuries to several key players — including three on the offensive line.

Guard Ethan Piper and tackle Turner Corcoran are out for the year, while guard Nouredin Nouili will miss multiple weeks. Same goes for top receiver Billy Kemp IV.

“We’re a pretty beat up team right now,” first-year coach Matt Rhule said. “We’ll have to have some guys step up.”

Nebraska’s defense has remained healthy, and it has showed on the field. The Huskers have allowed only 16 points in the past two games, and three of four Big Ten opponents have been held to 13 points or less.

Too bad their offense hasn’t capitalized, averaging only 18.7 points per game.

Purdue has scored only 21 total points in its last two games, with Texas transfer Hudson Card throwing for a season-low 126 yards last time out against the Buckeyes.

A win for Nebraska on Saturday would move it a game away from bowl eligibility for the first time since 2016. Purdue has to win four of its remaining five to avoid missing out on a bowl in a non-COVID season for the first time since 2019.

The Boilermakers lead 6-5 in the series, taking four of the last five meetings.

–Field Level Media

Sep 2, 2023; Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA; Michigan Wolverines quarterback J.J. McCarthy (9) hands off to running back Blake Corum (2) in the first half against the East Carolina Pirates at Michigan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

No. 2 Michigan heads to Nebraska for first road test

Michigan hasn’t left Ann Arbor this season while compiling a 4-0 record against overmatched opponents.

That will change Saturday as the second-ranked Wolverines head to Nebraska for a Big Ten contest in Lincoln.

Michigan (4-0, 1-0) hasn’t given up more than seven points in any of its games this season, including a 31-7 triumph over Rutgers in its conference opener last Saturday. Wolverines coach Jim Harbaugh returned to the sidelines after serving a three-game suspension for alleged recruiting violations.

Harbaugh wants to make sure the Wolverines don’t board the plane without something very important.

“Pack a good football team to go on the road, especially the defense,” he said. “Make sure you’ve got your defense packed. Don’t leave them at home.”

That defense has allowed 23 points this season. The Wolverines haven’t forced a lot of turnovers (five), but they’ve held opponents to an average of 2.8 yards per carry and 6.3 yards per pass attempt. They have eight sacks and haven’t allowed a fourth-down conversion.

Except for running back Blake Corum, the Michigan offense has been rather ordinary. Corum is averaging 87.8 rushing yards per game and has scored a nation-leading eight rushing touchdowns.

J.J. McCarthy has an eye-popping completion rate of 79.8 percent with eight touchdowns, but he’s also been picked off three times.

Corum commented after the latest win that the offense was still a work in progress, but Harbaugh emphasized the positives in his weekly press conference.

“To a man, I thought there was some really, really good things. Whether it was the running game, the passing game, the quarterbacking was at a really high level,” he said. “There were a lot more plays this week … where all 11 were doing what they were supposed to be doing and doing it at a really high level, in-sync type of level. Just keep trying to build on that.”

Corum and the Wolverines’ other top back, Donovan Edwards, will look for holes against a Cornhuskers defense that has allowed a stingy 1.8 yards per carry.

Nebraska coach Matt Rhule knows that stat won’t discourage Michigan.

“It’ll challenge every single aspect of every single thing you do defensively, because they’re not afraid to say, ‘Hey, we’re going to run this ball and get it to the unblocked player,’” Rhule said. “The standard for them is, ‘Hey, make that guy miss. And if he tackles you once, you have to make him miss the next time.’”

The Cornhuskers (2-2, 0-1) have won their last two games, both out of conference.

They defeated Louisiana Tech 28-14 last Saturday behind quarterback Heinrich Haarberg, who rushed for 157 yards and a touchdown and also threw for a score. Anthony Grant ran for 135 yards and a touchdown.

Jeff Sims, who started the season at quarterback, has missed the last two games with a lower leg injury. It was uncertain who will start on Saturday.

“This is a great opportunity,” Rhule said. “We have good players. We expect our players to play well. This game will be about blocking and tackling and covering, getting open and making throws.”

The Wolverines lead the all-time series 7-4-1, including a 4-2 mark since Nebraska joined the Big Ten in 2011.

–Field Level Media

Sep 9, 2023; Boulder, Colorado, USA; Colorado Buffaloes wide receiver Tar'Varish Dawson (6) scores a touchdown against the Nebraska Cornhuskers in the second quarter at Folsom Field. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

No. 22 Colorado makes it 2-0, takes down Nebraska

Shedeur Sanders passed for 393 yards and two touchdowns, rushed for another score and No. 22 Colorado doubled last season’s victory total with a 36-14 nonconference victory over Nebraska on Saturday afternoon at Boulder, Colo.

The Buffaloes were a woeful 1-11 last season before Deion Sanders was hired as coach and engaged in a roster overhaul that brought in 84 new players. Colorado (2-0) stunned then-No. 17 TCU in its season opener last week, then defeated its former Big 12 rival for the third straight time.

Tar’Varish Dawson scored two touchdowns (one receiving, one rushing) and Jace Feely kicked three field goals for the Buffaloes. Xavier Weaver caught 10 passes for 170 yards and one touchdown for Colorado.

Jeff Sims rushed for a touchdown and completed 9 of 15 passes for 106 yards for Nebraska (0-2). But he also was intercepted once and lost three fumbles to negatively affect the offense for the second straight game.

Sims threw three interceptions in the Cornhuskers’ season-opening 13-10 loss to Minnesota on Aug. 31.

Gabe Ervin Jr. rushed for 74 yards on 17 carries for Nebraska.

Cam’Ron Silmon-Craig had an interception for Colorado and teammates Arden Walker, Jordan Domineck and Buster Thomas recovered fumbles.

Shedeur Sanders completed 31 of 42 passes while enjoying his second straight big game. He set the Colorado school record with 510 passing yards in his debut.

The Buffaloes outgained Nebraska 468 to 341.

The game was scoreless until Sims fumbled a shotgun snap and Domineck recovered to set up Colorado at the Cornhuskers’ 19-yard line. Feely cashed it in with a 31-yard field goal with 4:20 left in the half.

On Nebraska’s next possession, Silmon-Craig intercepted Sims’ pass to give the Buffaloes the ball at the Cornhuskers’ 30. On the next play, Sanders threw a 30-yard scoring pass to Dawson to make it 10-0 with 2:35 remaining.

Feely tacked on a 32-yard field as time expired to give the Buffaloes a 13-0 halftime lead.
Sims broke loose for a 57-yard touchdown run with 9:50 left in the third quarter for Nebraska. But Colorado answered with a 10-play, 75-yard drive that ended with Sanders’ 12-yard scoring pass to Weaver with 6:49 left in the third quarter.

Feely booted a 30-yard field goal to make it 23-7 with 1:20 left in the period.

On the first play of the fourth quarter, Sims lost the ball on a handoff exchange and Thomas recovered. The Buffaloes moved 65 yards on nine plays with Dawson taking a reverse 8 yards for a touchdown to make it 29-7. A two-point conversion failed.

Shedeur Sanders scored on a 6-yard run with 4:54 remaining before Nebraska completed the scoring on Heinrich Haarberg’s 4-yard scoring pass to Thomas Fidone III on the game’s final play.

–Field Level Media

Nov 12, 2022; Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA;  Michigan Wolverines running back Blake Corum (2) stiff arms Nebraska Cornhuskers defensive back Malcolm Hartzog (13) in the first half at Michigan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Blake Corum, No. 3 Michigan breeze past Nebraska

Heisman Trophy hopeful Blake Corum rushed for 162 yards and a touchdown as No. 3 Michigan rolled to a 34-3 victory over Nebraska on Saturday at Ann Arbor, Mich.

J.J. McCarthy completed 8-of-17 passes for 129 yards and two touchdowns and rushed for another score for Michigan (10-0, 7-0 Big Ten). Ronnie Bell caught four passes for 72 yards and a touchdown, while C.J. Stokes added 68 rushing yards on eight carries as the Wolverines rushed for 264 yards.

Michigan, which is 10-0 for the first time since 2006, plays Illinois in its home finale next Saturday before its annual showdown with arch-rival Ohio State on Nov. 26.

Nebraska starting quarterback Chubba Purdy sustained a leg injury on a running play late in the first half and did not return. Purdy still wound up as the team’s leading rusher with 39 yards in five carries.

The Cornhuskers (3-7, 2-5) were limited to 147 total yards.

Corum had 103 rushing yards by halftime as the Wolverines grabbed a 17-3 lead.

Michigan drove 80 yards in 12 plays during its first possession, capping it off with Corum’s 2-yard touchdown run. McCarthy completed a 25-yard pass to Bell during that drive.

A 28-yard completion from McCarthy to Colston Loveland and a 12-yard run by Corum set up the Wolverines’ next touchdown, a 9-yard pass from McCarthy to Bell midway through the second quarter.

Timmy Bleekrode’s 37-yard field goal put Nebraska on the board. Michigan’s Jake Moody answered that with a 30-yard field goal with one second left in the half.

A 10-play, 65-yard drive gave Michigan a three-touchdown lead late in the third quarter. Corum had 33 rushing yards in that span and McCarthy finished it off by cutting to his left on a 3-yard run.

Stokes gained 46 yards on the Wolverines’ next scoring drive. McCarthy hit Bell with a 29-yard gain but Bell fumbled just before the goal line. Andrel Anthony recovered it near the end line with 9:39 remaining.

Moody added a 43-yard field goal late in the fourth quarter to complete the scoring.

–Field Level Media