Turnovers Help Do In Huskers In 36-14 Loss At Colorado

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Nebraska stayed close to Colorado into the 3rd quarter Saturday, but then the 22nd-ranked Buffalo cruised to a 36-14 victory before a sell-out crowd at Folsom Field in Boulder.  

Nebraska has dropped its last five non-conference road games and 22 straight games against ranked teams, dating back to 2016, while Colorado has its first 3-game winning streak over the Huskers since the 1950s.

The Huskers and Buffaloes played to a scoreless first quarter after Nebraska’s opening possession moved to the Colorado 31 on a 21-yard pass to Billy Kemp IV and a 17-yard reception by Nate Boerkircher before a fumbled snap by QB Jeff Sims gave the ball to Colorado.

The Blackshirts stifled the CU offense early with 3 sacks on Colorado’s first possession in the 2nd quarter, a pair from Cameron Lenhardt and the other by Nick Henrich. Lenhardt became the first true freshman to record two sacks in a game since Barry Turner had two at Baylor in 2005. 

The Huskers’ best 1st-half drive started on their own 9-yard line with 12:06 remaining. They went 64 yards on 9 plays, including runs of 26 and 13 yards by Ervin Jr and a leaping 18-yard grab along the NU sideline by Kemp IV, but it ended with a missed 45-yard field goal attempt by Tristan Alvano. 

Colorado capitalized on back-to-back turnovers from the NU offense to jump ahead 10-0 in under two minutes. The Buffaloes opened the scoring with a 31-yard field goal by Jace Feely with 4:20 remaining after another fumbled snap by Sims on Nebraska’s own 25-yard line. 

The Buffaloes needed just one play following an interception to grab a 10-point lead with a 30-yard pass to Tar’Varish Dawson by Sanders with 2:43 left. Feely’s field goal from 32 yards out as time expired gave Colorado a 13-point advantage at the half. 

Following a turnover on downs by the Buffaloes to begin the 2nd half, Sims broke free for a 57-yard scamper down the right sideline to bring the Big Red within 6, but Colorado responded almost immediately

The Buffaloes used a 41-yard pass on 3rd-down from their own 37 to set up a 12-yard scoring reception by Weaver to make it 20-7. They tacked on a field goal and a pair of touchdowns to grow the lead to 29 before Thomas Fidone snagged a 4-yard touchdown reception from Heinrich Haarberg on the game’s final play to make it 36-14. 

Haarberg came in after Sims was knocked out of the game in the 4th quarter when he had his left ankle rolled on as he scrambled to make a throw.

The Huskers managed 341 total yards, including 119 passing and 222 rushing, while the Buffaloes had 468 total yards, including 396 through the air and 72 on the ground. Sims completed 9-of-15 passes for 106 yards and an interception, while Heinrich Haarberg completed 2-of-6 attempts for 13 yards and a score for Nebraska. 

Billy Kemp IV was Nebraska’s top target, hauling in five catches for 57 yards. Gabe Ervin Jr led the NU ground game with a career-high 74 yards on 17 carries. Sims added 67 yards on 10 attempts with a score, while Rahmir Johnson contributed 66 yards on 11 totes. 

The Huskers sacked Colorado QB Shedeur Sanders 8 times, but the son of Buffs’ coach Deion Sanders still connected on 31-of-42 passes for 393 yards and 2 touchdowns. Xavier Weaver led the CU receiving corps with 10 grabs for 170 yards and a score. 

The Nebraska defense had 11 tackles for loss, the most since recording 12 against Colorado in 2018, which was also the last time they had at least 7 sacks in a game.

Isaac Gifford led the Husker defense with a team-high 8 tackles. Luke Reimer totaled 5 tackles and 1.5 sacks, while Lenhardt and Henrich chipped in 3 tackles and a pair of sacks each. Mikai Gbayor and Malcom Hartzog recorded 6 tackles each, while Riley Van Poppel, Jimari Butler and Tamon Lynum picked up their first career sacks. 

Nebraska now returns to Lincoln for the home opener this Saturday against Northern Illinois. Kick-off at Memorial Stadium is set for 5 pm MT with live national television coverage on FS1. KCSR’s broadcast begins at 4:15 with the Matt Ruhle Show.