Five turnovers prove fatal as Huskers lose to Maryland, 13-10

Both teams seeking bowl eligibility in pivotal Big Ten battle
Published: Nov. 11, 2023 at 10:08 AM CST
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LINCOLN, Neb. (WOWT) - The Huskers are back at home for another critical matchup as the 2023 season begins to wind to a close.

Nebraska (5-4, 3-3) plays host to Maryland (5-4, 2-4) on Saturday at Memorial Stadium, where the Huskers are 4-1 this year — the only loss coming to No. 2 Michigan.

Last week, Nebraska had a chance to secure its sixth win of the year and clinch a bowl game appearance, but a previously skidding Michigan State team stood tall to upset the Huskers 20-17.

1st Quarter

Maryland opens the game with a 38-yard drive, ending at the Huskers’ 37-yard line.

On the Huskers’ first possession, Nebraska pulls off a fake punt on fourth-and-five at their own 38-yard line with an 11-yard rush from tight end Nate Boerkircher. Two plays later quarterback Heinrich Haarberg is intercepted by Dante Trader Jr. After a 21-yard return by Trader Jr., Maryland takes over at Nebraska’s 44-yard line. The Blackshirts held the Terps to only three yards on the ensuing possession, avoiding any points off of the turnover.

2nd Quarter

Just four plays into the second quarter, Haarberg is sacked for a three-yard loss. The sophomore hobbled off the field and would not return for the remainder of the half. Quarterback Jeff Sims steps in under center on the next Huskers possession.

After over 27 minutes of scoreless football, Maryland quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa launches a 53-yard bomb to receiver Tai Felton. Next play, Tagovailoa hits Felton again, this time for a 16-yard touchdown, putting the first points on the board. Terps lead 7-nothing.

Under a minute left in the first half on second-and-four on Maryland’s 30-yard line, quarterback Jeff Sims sails the ball into the endzone where Maryland defensive back Tarheeb Still comes down with it for the Huskers’ second interception of the half.

Terps go into the break with a 7-0 lead.

3rd Quarter

On Maryland’s first possession of the second half, safety Omar Brown forces a fumble and the Huskers recover at Maryland’s 27. Sims and running backs Anthony Grant and Emmett Johnson combine for the next 25 yards followed by a 2-yard touchdown run from Janiran Bonner to get the Huskers on the board and tie the game at 7.

Four plays later, the Huskers are back with the ball thanks to a Javin Wright interception of Tagovailoa at Maryland’s 46. Ensuing possession, Big Red was only able to move the ball 11 yards. Omaha Westside product Tristan Alvano hits a 38-yard field goal to give the Huskers their first lead of the day, 10-7.

4th Quarter

First play of the fourth quarter, Sims fumbles and Maryland recovers it just outside of the red zone. Immediately following the turnover, safety Marques Buford lays out Tagovailoa for a loss of 11 yards. The sack helps hold the Terps to a field goal to knot the game at 10.

On the Huskers’ ensuing possession, Sims with his third turnover of the day, was picked off by Trader Jr. again. Maryland takes over in Nebraska territory.

Six plays later, Wright has his hand in his second turnover of the day forcing a fumble, and defensive end Ty Robinson recovers the ball at Nebraska’s three-yard line.

Back with the ball, Nebraska sends their third quarterback of the day under center, Chubba Purdy. Purdy marches the Huskers offense 90 yards to Maryland’s 7 before tossing the Huskers’ fourth interception of the day.

Off the turnover, Tagovailoa leads the Terps 75 yards in 12 plays to set up Maryland’s game-winning 24-yard field goal as time expired. Maryland won 13-10 to capture their sixth win for the season to become bowl-eligible. With two more games left, the Huskers are still in search of their sixth win.

Prior to the falter against the Spartans, Nebraska had won three straight games over Illinois, Northwestern, and Purdue.

Now, the Huskers have yet another crack at eclipsing the bowl eligibility threshold for the first time since 2016.

“Everything is about learning how to win,” Nebraska HC Matt Rhule said in his press conference Monday. “I think we have learned how to win, but winning in November is completely different. You get everybody’s best. When you come in with a winning record, they game plan you, they attack you, they take your shots at you.”


The Huskers enter Saturday’s contest as a two-point underdog at home against a Maryland team that has struggled immensely over the past month.

The Terrapins started the season a blistering 5-0 and nearly broke into the Top 25 before taking a hard turn for the right-hand column. Maryland hasn’t won since Sept. 30, dropping its last four games, including a 51-15 blowout loss to Penn State last week.

Maryland and Nebraska meeting in the regular season is not a common occurrence, as the programs have only played each other twice before. Nebraska dominated both games, winning 28-7 at home in 2016 and 54-7 on the road in 2019.