LINCOLN, Neb - For the last two weeks, the chatter throughout Husker nation has surrounded Nebraska being a win away for bowl eligibility.

Nebraska had the chance to get bowl eligible against Michigan State, but fell 20-17. The Huskers said they weren’t thinking about getting a bowl game then, and they’re not thinking about it now. As Nebraska’s defense faces one of their toughest tasks to date in Maryland, they’re heading into this weekend with one goal: domination.

“We’re not thinking about any outside stuff,” defensive lineman Nash Hutmacher said. “All we’re worried about is going in and dominating the team we’re playing. We’re not letting outside noise of going to a bowl game get to us, this week we’re just going to lean on one another and go out there and dominate.”

“We just don’t look at it as getting another win,” linebacker Luke Reimer said. “It’s just what we do every single day, that process, and what you’ve been doing since, what should have been, week one of fall camp. There’s no difference in this week, last week, or the week before that.”

But for defensive players such as Nash Hutmacher and Luke Reimer to be successful in their goal of domination, it all starts with stopping dynamic Maryalnd quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa. A 10,000 yard passer for his career, the senior presents a unique challenge, having thrown for a score in 35 of 38 games in his career, while also averaging 5.2 yards per carry on the ground.

Huskers Defensive Coordinator Tony White says the defense will have to get creative.

“We’re going to have to find ways to flush him, keep him in the pocket, bring on extra guys, dropping everybody,” White said. “We’ll have to constantly change looks on him because he’s good… And he’s a veteran.”

The domination factor goes both ways.

The Huskers offense will look to bounce back on Saturday and it starts with quarterback Heinrich Haarberg. After Haarberg had a two interception day on Saturday against the Spartans, Offensive Coordinator Marcus Satterfield says he may not need to think as much, rather, he hopes Haarberg plays loose and freely.

“We’re at that stage right now where I said ‘Heinrich, just smile… Smile and have fun. Be the guy who people asked if he was ever going to slide. Just go run through someone’s face,” Satterfield said. “If he can do that, he’ll be fine.”

Haarberg agrees and even thinks Satterfield and the coaching staff may want to see the Heinrich Haarberg of NIU and Louisiana Tech, where he ran for 255 yards and two touchdowns combined.

“There’s certain times I need to be able to do that,” Haarberg said. “These last couple games, I’ve tried to make too much happen on some of my runs… Stopping my feet, trying to get back inside, when I should just tuck the ball, five points of contact, dive for five yards… I think that’s what he [Satterfield] is talking about so that’s something I want to get in the right mindset for this week.”

Saturday’s contest features two teams with equal records as both Nebraska and the Terrapins come in at 5-4, with Maryland having dropped their last four. It’s also the first meeting since the Huskers visited Maryland in 2019, picking up a 54-7 win.

Kick off is set for 11:00 a.m. central time (10:00 a.m. mountain) on Peacock .