Oct 21, 2023; Seattle, Washington, USA; Washington Huskies Athletic Director Troy Dannen stands on the sidelines before a football game against the Arizona State Sun Devils at Alaska Airlines Field at Husky Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Report: Washington AD Troy Dannen heading to Nebraska

Troy Dannen’s stay at Washington was brief.

Dannen, who took over as the athletic director in Seattle on Oct. 9, is finalizing a six-year deal to take the same role at Nebraska, ESPN reported Wednesday.

He would replace Trev Alberts, a Nebraska alum hired last week as athletic director at Texas A&M.

Dannen ran the athletic department at Tulane for eight years before taking the job with the Huskies.

“I am so honored to have the opportunity to serve the University of Washington, our students, coaches, staff, faculty and incredible fans,” Dannen said in a news release issued in October. “Throughout this process, the passion, love and spirit of the UW was evident in every conversation, as was the alignment necessary for comprehensive success.

“We will compete for championships, and we will provide an unmatched experience for our student-athletes. The future has never been brighter for Husky Athletics, and I am humbled to steward the next chapter in our storied history.”

At Washington, he hired Jedd Fisch to replace Kalen DeBoer as football coach and gained some familiarity with the Big Ten as the Huskies prepare to transition to their new conference in the fall. He also fired basketball coach Mike Hopkins. Washington’s next athletic director will be the program’s third since August 2023.

Dannen is from traditional Big Ten country, and ESPN reported he and his wife wanted to return to their roots. A graduate of Northern Iowa, he was the athletic director at his alma mater for seven years before going to Tulane.

–Field Level Media

Nov 28, 2022; Omaha, Nebraska, US;  Nebraska Cornhuskers athletic director Trev Alberts speaks at the introductory press conference at the Hawks Championship Center on the University of Nebraska-Lincoln campus. Mandatory Credit: Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports

Nebraska AD Trev Alberts reportedly headed to Texas A&M

Nebraska athletic director Trev Alberts is expected to leave his alma mater and accept the same position at Texas A&M, multiple outlets reported Wednesday.

He would replace Ross Bjork, who was hired in January as athletic director at Ohio State.

Alberts has been athletic director at Nebraska since the start of the 2021-22 academic year. One of his biggest moves with the Cornhuskers was to fire fifth-year head coach Scott Frost three weeks into the 2022 season and later replace him with Matt Rhule.

Alberts wouldn’t have to make any such move this time. Football coach Jimbo Fisher was fired in November, and Alberts would inherit new coach Mike Elko, who was hired in December to lead the Aggies.

Now 53, Alberts was a linebacker at Nebraska and was the school’s first Butkus Award winner and an All-American in 1993. The Colts selected him No. 5 overall in the 1994 NFL Draft, and he played in Indianapolis for three seasons before retiring.

Before becoming the Cornhuskers’ AD, Alberts was the athletic director at Nebraska-Omaha.

–Field Level Media

Chandler quarterback Dylan Raiola throws during a scrimmage against Williams Field High in Gilbert.

Five-star QB Dylan Raiola flips from Georgia to Nebraska

Quarterback Dylan Raiola, one of the highest-rated prospects in the Class of 2024, flipped his commitment from Georgia to Nebraska on Monday.

The five-star recruit was the No. 6 overall prospect in the 247Sports composite rankings. He committed to Ohio State in 2022, decommitted before the end of the year and chose Georgia last May over Nebraska and Southern California.

Raiola will become the highest-rated recruit in Nebraska program history when he signs his national letter of intent.

Raiola is the son of Dominic Raiola, who played center at Nebraska and spent 14 years in the NFL with the Detroit Lions.

“I firmly believe that Nebraska is in my blood,” Dylan Raiola told ESPN. “It’s a great opportunity to be part of something bigger than myself. Nebraska is a special place.”

Georgia got better quarterback news Monday when Carson Beck announced he was returning to the program instead of entering the 2024 NFL Draft.

–Field Level Media

Iowa Hawkeyes assistant coach Brian Ferentz greets Big Ten leading tackler Jay Higgins (34) as he returns to the sideline during the second quarter against the Minnesota Golden Gophers at Kinnick Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

Big Ten rock fight pits low-scoring Iowa, win-needy Nebraska

A bowl bid might not have been realistic to Nebraska at the beginning of the season, particularly with a first-year head coach admitting a massive rebuilding plan was set to begin.

And then the Cornhuskers found themselves one win from postseason eligibility entering November. Victory No. 6 remains elusive.

The Cornhuskers are still one win shy of being bowl eligible for the first time since 2016. Their last chance comes Friday when they host Iowa in Lincoln, Neb.

Iowa (9-2, 6-2) has already wrapped up the Big Ten’s West Division title and a spot in the conference title game Dec. 2 in Indianapolis. It will be the program’s third trip to the final, losing in 2015 and 2021.

Three consecutive Nebraska losses, by a combined 13 points, continues a trend in recent years for the Cornhuskers (5-6, 3-5 Big Ten) in one-score games. The most recent was a 24-17 overtime defeat at Wisconsin, a game Nebraska led 14-0 in the first quarter.

“Couldn’t be happier about where we are, couldn’t be angrier about our record,” Nebraska coach Matt Rhule said. “Two things can be true.”

The Hawkeyes have won three in a row and six of seven despite having one of the lowest scoring offenses in the country. Iowa averages 18.5 points per game, which is 121st out of 130 FBS teams.

Low-scoring games aren’t just the norm for Iowa. Oddsmakers set the point total at an all-time low for a Power 5 matchup at 27.5 combined points, meaning projections indicate a total of less than 28 points on Friday.

“They’re so comfortable in a 10-9 game,” Rhule said.

The Hawkeyes scored a 15-13 home win over Illinois last week. Iowa failed to reach 300 total yards off offense for the eighth time this season. But they’re 6-2 in those games, aided by a defense that ranks seventh nationally with 281.4 per game allowed.

“This group is really special,” Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz said. “They’ve endured a lot.”

Nebraska started a third different quarterback in 11 games last week. Sophomore Chubba Purdy threw for 169 yards with a touchdown and an interception. He also ran for 105 yards and a score. That extends a season-long trend with mobile quarterbacks for the Cornhuskers. Jeff Sims ran for 158 yards and a TD in his two starts and Heinrich Haarberg is the team’s leading rusher with 477 yards and five scores.

Iowa has also started multiple quarterbacks, with Deacon Hill passing for 390 yards and two TDs total over the past two games while completing 65 percent of his passes. But running back Leshon Williams is a main weapon, with 688 yards on the ground.

The offensive woes for the Hawkeyes led to the decision that Brian Ferentz, the head coach’s son, would not return as offensive coordinator in 2024.

The Big Ten’s top tackler will be in action in Iowa senior linebacker Jay Higgins, whose 133 total tackles are 31 more than any other defender in the conference.

Nebraska holds a 30-20-3 edge in the series, winning last year in Iowa City to snap a 7-game skid. The Hawkeyes have won their last trips to Lincoln, taking the last two by one score.

An Iowa win would get it to 10 for the seventh time in 25 seasons under Ferentz, whose 195 victories are most of any active FBS coach with one team.

–Field Level Media

Nov 18, 2023; Madison, Wisconsin, USA;  Nebraska Cornhuskers quarterback Chubba Purdy (12) throws a pass during the first quarter against the Wisconsin Badgers at Camp Randall Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Braelon Allen’s TD in OT lifts Wisconsin past Nebraska

Braelon Allen scored on a 3-yard run in overtime to give Wisconsin a 24-17 comeback victory over visiting Nebraska on Saturday night, as the Badgers snapped a three-game skid to become bowl eligible.

Wisconsin gambled on fourth-and-1 in the first overtime and got the first down on Allen’s 2-yard pickup. Allen scored on the next play to put the Badgers up 24-17.

Nebraska lost a yard on a run and then sandwiched a pair of incompletions around a false start penalty. Chubba Purdy’s pass on fourth-and-16 was picked off by Preston Zachman at the 4.

Wisconsin (6-5, 4-4 Big Ten), which also avoided its first four-game home losing streak since 1990, can extend its streak of bowl games to 22 seasons. The Badgers have won 10 straight against Nebraska.

Nebraska (5-6, 3-5) needs to win its final game at home vs. Iowa to become bowl eligible for the first time since 2016.

Nebraska’s Tristan Alvano sent the game into overtime with a 30-yard field goal from the right hash with four seconds remaining.

Nebraska scored on its first two possessions, but Wisconsin rallied within 14-10 at the half, and then took a 17-14 lead on Allen’s 2-yard touchdown run to cap a 79-yard drive midway through the third quarter.

Purdy, starting in place of injured quarterback Heinrich Haarberg, scrambled for 22 yards to give the Huskers a first down at the Wisconsin 26 with 1:35 left in regulation to set up the tying field goal.

Purdy completed 15 of 23 passes for 169 yards and one touchdown, and ran for 105 yards and a touchdown on 14 carries.

Purdy accounted for touchdowns of 55 and 58 yards on the Cornhuskers’ first two series.

On the opening series, Purdy turned a scramble out of the pocket on third-and-3 into a 55-yard touchdown run. The Huskers made it 14-0 with a six-play, 76-yard drive capped by Purdy’s 58-yard touchdown pass to Jalen Lloyd.

The Badgers pulled within 14-7 on Tanner Mordecai’s 26-yard pass to Jackson Acker out of the backfield midway through the second quarter.

Nathanial Vakos hit a 35-yard field goal with 1:54 remaining in the half. Alvano was wide right on a 42-yard attempt on the final play of the half.

Mordecai completed 18 of 28 passes for 160 yards and one score.

–Field Level Media

Oct 28, 2023; Lincoln, Nebraska, USA; Nebraska Cornhuskers quarterback Heinrich Haarberg (10) passes against the Purdue Boilermakers during the second quarter at Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Dylan Widger-USA TODAY Sports

Nebraska survives 4 fumbles to beat Purdue, 31-14

Heinrich Haarberg threw two touchdown passes and Nebraska overcame four lost fumbles to win its third straight, beating Purdue 31-14 in a Big Ten Conference game on Saturday afternoon in Lincoln, Neb.

The Cornhuskers (5-3, 3-2 Big Ten) have outscored their opponents 68-30 points during the win streak, moving a victory away from being bowl eligible for the first time since 2016.

Haarberg threw for 122 yards and two TDs on 6-of-11 passing but only had 22 rushing yards on 19 attempts. Emmett Johnson led the ground charge, rushing for 76 yards on 13 carries, including a 28-yard TD run with 3:54 to go in the fourth quarter.

Purdue (2-6, 1-4) trailed 24-0 in the fourth before getting on the scoreboard, turning a pair of fumble recoveries into points. Hudson Card hit Jayden Dixon-Neal for a 29-yard TD pass with 9:09 left, then Kydran Jenkins returned a fumble 55 yards for a score with 6:24 remaining.

The last of those fumbles came when Nebraska quarterback Jeff Sims, who came in for Haarberg after he fumbled on the previous drive, lost the ball on a fourth-and-1 run.

Up 14-0 at the half, Nebraska upped it to a 21-point lead early in the third when Elijah Jeudy blocked a Purdue field-goal attempt and Quinton Newsome returned it 68 yards for a score. It was the Cornhuskers’ first blocked field goal for a TD since 2014.

A career-long 55-yard field goal by Tristan Alvano made it 24-0 with 12:23 remaining.

After managing minus-8 yards on its first two drives, Nebraska went 87 yards in 15 plays and ate up nearly nine minutes of clock to take a 7-0 lead on a 1-yard Thomas Fidone II catch from Haarberg early in the second quarter. Following an interception by Tommi Hill, Haarberg found Jaylen Lloyd for a 73-yard TD pass.

Purdue finished with 195 yards, its fewest in more than four seasons, with Card completing only 16 of 32 passes for 100 yards, with a TD and two interceptions.

–Field Level Media

Oct 21, 2023; Lincoln, Nebraska, USA; Nebraska Cornhuskers quarterback Heinrich Haarberg (10) and tight end Luke Lindenmeyer (44) celebrate after a touchdown by Haarberg against the Northwestern Wildcats during the second quarter at Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Dylan Widger-USA TODAY Sports

Heinrich Haarberg lifts Nebraska past Northwestern

Heinrich Haarberg shook off a slow start to throw a touchdown pass and run for another as Nebraska beat Northwestern 17-9 in a Big Ten Conference game on Saturday afternoon in Lincoln, Neb.

The Cornhuskers (4-3, 2-2 Big Ten) picked up their second straight win and fourth in five games despite being outgained and turning it over on two of their first three drives.

Haarberg was intercepted on two of his first four passes and was just 8 of 17 overall for 85 yards but threw a 44-yard TD pass in the fourth quarter to break the game open. He also ran for 72 yards, including a 3-yard score with 11 seconds left in the first half, giving Nebraska a 10-6 lead going into the break.

Northwestern (3-4, 1-3) managed just three field goals from Jack Olsen despite starting in Nebraska territory on its first three drives. The Wildcats allowed eight sacks of Brendan Sullivan, who was 12 of 23 for 176 yards with an interception.

Nebraska made it a two-score game early in the fourth when Haarberg hit Malachi Coleman for a 44-yard TD pass and a 17-6 lead.

Northwestern got within 17-9 with 11:09 left on a 25-yard field goal by Olsen, who made first-half kicks from 45 and 37 yards but was just short on a 54-yard attempt in the third.

After Haarberg’s second interception led to a Northwestern field goal, the Cornhuskers tied it on a 47-yard field goal from Tristan Alvano late in the first, with Olsen hitting a 37-yarder with 5:48 left before halftime to give the Wildcats back the lead.

Nebraska ran for 163 yards, with Emmett Johnson gaining 73 yards on 12 carries. Northwestern’s Anthony Tyus III had 63 yards on six carries, including a 39-yard run.

Northwestern returns home to face Maryland next Saturday, while Nebraska hosts Purdue.

–Field Level Media

Oct 6, 2023; Champaign, Illinois, USA; Nebraska Cornhuskers quarterback Heinrich Haarberg (10) smiles with teammates on the bench during the second half against the Illinois Fighting Illini at Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ron Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

Nebraska sticking with QB Heinrich Haarberg vs. Northwestern

Nebraska and Northwestern are both hoping to pick up where they left off before a bye week when they meet in a Big Ten Conference matchup Saturday afternoon in Lincoln, Neb.

Nebraska (3-3, 1-2 Big Ten) pulled out a 20-7 win at Illinois before taking last weekend off, while Northwestern (3-3, 1-2) edged FCS school Howard 23-20 on Oct. 7 in its latest contest.

The Cornhuskers will continue to start Heinrich Haarberg at quarterback. He has gone 3-1 over the last four games while season-opening starter Jeff Sims has been recovering from an ankle injury.

“We’ll play with Heinrich for now. Jeff is ready to go on a moment’s notice,” Nebraska coach Matt Rhule said. “Heinrich’s played well, Heinrich’s done some good things, so he’ll be the starter.”

Northwestern defensive coordinator and interim coach David Braun emphasized the need to wrap up Haarberg and prevent big plays.

“You’ve got to play with great leverage, and you’ve got to tackle,” Braun said. “He’s got the ability to be extremely explosive. I’ve been really impressed with his ability to operate within the scheme.”

Northwestern enters the second half of a season that began with turmoil, as longtime head coach Pat Fitzgerald was fired in the wake of a hazing scandal.

“I feel like I’ve grown exponentially, simply through having no choice,” Braun said. “This is where your greatest growth comes, through situations of adversity and new trials.”

In Northwestern’s win over Howard, Brendan Sullivan filled in at quarterback for Ben Bryant, who sustained an upper-body injury the previous week in a loss to Penn State.

“Ben continues to progress — not sure what his status will be (for this week) — but he’s progressing,” Braun said.

The Cornhuskers will be celebrating the 100th anniversary of Memorial Stadium, which has hosted 392 consecutive sellouts. The last game there was not a successful one, though, as Nebraska lost 45-7 to No. 2 Michigan.

Northwestern is 0-2 away from home this season and has lost 13 consecutive true road games dating back to the 2020 season. The Wildcats last won in Lincoln in 2017, but they did knock off the Cornhuskers 31-28 to open the 2022 campaign in Dublin, Ireland.

The winner will be no worse than third in the Big Ten West and within a game in the loss column of first place. Rhule isn’t looking that far ahead, though.

“I’m not worried about the big picture,” he said. “I think that’s the problem with Nebraska football. I think that’s why we have gone 1-5 down the stretch most years, looking at things outside of just going 1-0 this week.”

–Field Level Media

Oct 6, 2023; Champaign, Illinois, USA; Nebraska Cornhuskers quarterback Heinrich Haarberg (10) hands the ball to running back Anthony Grant (23) during the first half against the Illinois Fighting Illini at Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ron Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

Cornhuskers go wire-to-wire, stifle Illinois’ rush attack

Nebraska used its defense and special teams to beat Illinois 20-7 in a Big Ten Conference game Friday night in Champaign, Ill.

The Cornhuskers (3-3, 1-2 Big Ten) forced a fumble, intercepted a pass, made two fourth-down stops — including one on the goal line — recovered a muffed kickoff and blocked a punt to beat the Illini for the first time since 2019. They also held Illinois (2-4, 0-3) to 21 rushing yards, the Illini’s lowest total in nearly four years.

Nebraska led 17-7 at the half, then extended the lead to 20-7 on a 32-yard Tristan Alvano field goal midway through the third. The score was set up by a fumble forced by Phalen Sanford and recovered by Griffin Moore in Illinois territory.

A blocked punt on the ensuing drive set the Cornhuskers up with great field position, but Alvano’s 36-yard field-goal attempt was wide. Nebraska then turned it over on three consecutive drives in the fourth quarter to keep the margin from being greater.

After stuffing Illinois on fourth-and-goal at the 1 on the game’s opening possession, Nebraska drove 86 yards and went up 3-0 on a 31-yard Alvano field goal late in the first quarter.

Another long drive ended in a touchdown for the Cornhuskers midway through the second, with Anthony Grant scoring on a 1-yard run. Two plays later it was 17-0 Nebraska following a muffed kickoff into a stiff wind and a 25-yard Heinrich Haarberg TD run.

Haarberg finished with 236 yards of total offense, throwing for 154 and rushing for 82.

Illinois got on the board with 1:31 left in the first half on a 46-yard TD pass from Luke Altmyer to Pat Bryant. Altmyer was 29 of 47 for 289 yards, completing passes to nine different targets, but had no support from a run game averaging more than 140 yards entering the night. He was picked off once.

Nebraska is off until hosting Northwestern on Oct. 21, while Illinois visits Maryland on Oct. 14.

–Field Level Media

Sep 30, 2023; Lincoln, Nebraska, USA; Nebraska Cornhuskers quarterback Heinrich Haarberg (10) runs against the Michigan Wolverines during the second quarter at Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Dylan Widger-USA TODAY Sports

Nebraska, Illinois seek change from similar slow starts

Nebraska and host Illinois, each coming off blowout losses in Big Ten Conference play, face off on a short week on Friday night in Champaign, Ill.

Illinois (2-3, 0-2 Big Ten) fell 44-19 at Purdue, while Nebraska (2-3, 0-2) was crushed 45-7 at home by No. 2 Michigan. Each is trying to avoid a 0-3 start in the conference for the first time since 2020 (for Illinois) and 2018 (for Nebraska), respectively.

“Nebraska is very similar to our situation,” Illinois coach Bret Bielema said. “But I think this week is a lot about us.”

The Fighting Illini allowed a season-low 406 yards to Purdue but gave up 31 points on five red-zone possessions. For the season Illinois has yielded 23 scores on 26 trips inside its 20-yard line, compared to 23 on 31 all of 2022.

Nebraska came up scoreless in its two red-zone possessions against Michigan and has been inside the opposing 20 on only 12 occasions this season.

The Cornhuskers will continue to go with sophomore Heinrich Haarberg at quarterback, even with Jeff Sims getting closer to 100 percent following a high ankle sprain. Haarberg is Nebraska’s leading rusher (270 yards), but had minus-2 against Michigan, so there could be a splitting of snaps.

“I feel very confident with Heinrich being the starting quarterback,” Nebraska coach Matt Rhule said. “That being said, I also have a lot of confidence in Jeff. I’m getting them both ready. I have full confidence in Heinrich. I’ll do whatever it takes to win.”

Illinois may again be without leading rusher Reggie Love III (44 carries, 248 yards), who sat out the last game with an ankle injury.

The Illini have won the last three meetings, including a 26-9 victory at Nebraska last October, but the Cornhuskers hold a 13-6-1 lead in the series. Nebraska’s last win in Champaign came in 2019.

–Field Level Media