Nebraska is in the win column for Matt Rhule!

After going 0-2 to begin Rhule’s tenure, the Huskers returned to Lincoln for the home opener in Week 3. The first game of the season in Memorial Stadium did not disappoint with Nebraska starting to click on both sides of the ball.

At quarterback, starter Jeff Sims was sidelined but Heinrich Haarberg started and played well against Northern Illinois. The defense also continued its positive trend to the season in the 35-11 win.

Here are 3 takeaways from the Week 3 win:

Heinrich Haarberg makes case for QB competition

Haarberg’s first career start was far from spotless. He had an early fumble that led to Northern Illinois’ only points for the majority of the game, but for the rest of the game, Haarberg managed the offense efficiently.

Heading into halftime, Haarberg had a pair of passing touchdowns, and he kept things rolling after the break. It wasn’t just his air production that impressed.

When the starters finally gave way to the reserves, Haarberg finished with a team-high 98 yards on 21 carries with a touchdown. He also went 14-for-24 through the air for 158 yards.

It’s true that Northern Illinois was not as stiff of competition as Minnesota and Colorado, but Haarberg did what Sims has not done so far this season in taking care of the ball. With Louisiana Tech on deck, it would likely be wise for Nebraska to take an extra look at the QB depth chart for that game before hitting B1G play.

Nebraska’s defensive front continues to shine

Nebraska’s defensive front has truly been one of the stars of the early season. After getting to Shedeur Sanders consistently a week ago, the Husker front did a good job of bottling up the Huskies.

The Huskers finished Saturday’s win with 3 sacks and 5 TFLs. Nash Hutmacher was one of the leaders with 6 total tackles, 0.5 sacks and 2.5 TFL. As a team, Nebraska held NIU to 26 yards rushing and 1.2 yards per carry.

Matt Rhule secures first Nebraska win

A win is a win, right? And with the way Rhule’s Year 1 results have gone at other stops, don’t take any victory for granted.

At the risk of inflicting some PTSD, it’s worth remembering Nebraska began the Scott Frost tenure 0-6 with a loss to Troy before getting a win. At the very least, Rhule avoids that type of disaster and provides a glimmer of hope for Nebraska to build on.

With the win, Rhule is now 4-23 in first-year games at the college level.