Turnovers, Jeff Sims injury concern Huskers after loss at No. 22 Colorado

by 24USATVSept. 10, 2023, 6:01 a.m. 20

BOULDER, CO. (WOWT) - With two challenging road contests to start the season, the Matt Rhule era beginning 0-2 was always a realistic outcome for the Huskers.

But eight turnovers in those first two games? That’s a hard one to wrap your head around.

After coughing it up four times at Minnesota, Nebraska had a repeat performance in this afternoon’s 36-14 loss to Colorado, including two turnovers inside their own 30-yard line, which led to a 13-0 Buffaloes lead before halftime.

“I really have to do a deeper dive to look into everything that happened,” Rhule said. “Jeff [Sims] will be the first one to say, ‘We can’t have that many turnovers.’

“I know everyone is going to be, as they should, upset and panicked and those things,” Rhule continued. “We’re better than we’re showing, but those are just words and we’ll have to put that into action.”

“We always talk about not beating ourselves and protecting the ball is the main key in that,” said Billy Kemp IV, Nebraska’s leading receiver, with just 57 yards on five receptions in the loss. “We’ve just got to keep practicing and working on protecting the ball.”

“I don’t think there’s any finger-pointing going on, we’ve just got to keep growing together,” linebacker Nick Henrich said. “Everyone can do something better.”

If a blowout loss to a rival and an 0-2 start wasn’t bad enough, the Huskers also have to worry about the health of starting quarterback Jeff Sims.

Sims went down under pressure with an apparent lower left leg injury in the fourth quarter with Nebraska already trailing 29-7. He was helped off the field and did not return. Rhule had few details to share immediately after the game.

“I don’t know anything other than they said maybe a high ankle [injury]. He wanted to go back in but I didn’t see any point in putting him in there.”

The Georgia Tech transfer ended the afternoon with 106 passing yards, two fumbles, one interception and no touchdown passes. He also ran in a 57-yard touchdown in the third quarter.

Kearney-native Heinrich Haarberg took over in Sims’ absence, completing two of his six passes for 13 yards and a touchdown pass. Haarberg was seen warming up on the sideline in the second quarter, shortly after Sims committed his third turnover. Rhule insists that benching Sims was not a consideration.

“There was never a thought of putting Heinrich [Haarberg] in,” he said. “I won’t really be able to comment, truly because it’s such a big deal to comment on the quarterback. We know, globally it’s too many turnovers, but in terms of what exactly went wrong, I have to go back and look at those things.”

The Huskers turn the page to next week’s home opener. Nebraska hosts Northern Illinois Saturday, September 16 at 6:00 p.m.


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