Matt Rhule on Huskers QB situation: ‘I know we can win with both guys’

Rhule declined to get into ‘hypotheticals’ about a potential quarterback battle
Nebraska quarterback Heinrich Haarberg was a major player in Saturday's win over Northern Illinois -- the first with Matt Rhule as head coach at home in Lincoln
Published: Sep. 17, 2023 at 3:04 AM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - Heinrich Haarberg threw two touchdown passes and ran in a third in his first start, leading the charge in Nebraska’s 35-11 win against Northern Illinois Saturday night. The victory marked Matt Rhule’s first win as Huskers head coach.

Starting in place of the injured Jeff Sims (ankle), the Kearney Catholic product wasted no time answering the call, completing a six-play, 55-yard Huskers opening drive with a 10-yard touchdown pass to Billy Kemp IV.

“It was awesome,” Haarberg said. “Being out there for the first time and a night game brought all the emotions. I was thinking about everything I’ve had to work for up to this. Being able to have that first drive like that and everything after. I don’t think I could have ended it better.”

Haarberg completed 14 of his 24 passes for 158 yards and finished as the Huskers leading rusher with 98 yards on 21 carries.

Nebraska gave the ball away just once in Saturday’s win, a stark contrast to their losses at Minnesota and Colorado that featured a combined eight NU turnovers. But Rhule cautioned against making direct comparisons between Sims’ performance in the first two weeks and Haarberg’s output against the Huskies.

“I think we’ve figured out that both quarterbacks are good quarterbacks,” Rhule said. “The situation that Jeff went and played in the first two games was difficult, okay? And a lot of things that weren’t his fault were pegged on Jeff Sims. So, we’ve got a lot of confidence in Jeff. We’ve known all along that Heinrich [Haarberg] can play.”

Rhule was non-committal when asked about his plans at quarterback moving forward.

“We’ve got a good situation,” he said. “I won’t talk any hypotheticals. I don’t know who’s going to be healthy and who’s not, but I know we can win with both guys.”

Nebraska continues their homestand Saturday, Sept. 23 hosting Louisiana Tech. Kickoff is scheduled for 2:30 p.m.