Welcome to the Big 10 Conference season. This is Nebraska’s 9th season in the league, where the Huskers are still looking for a conference title.
Is this the year? I still think the Huskers are a year away, but I think they have a shot at the Big 10 West Division title. Head Coach Scott Frost is looking for his first Big 10 win on the road.
Last year he lost on the road at Michigan, Northwestern, Ohio State, and Iowa. Three of those losses were very close, by a combined total of 11 points. So Coach Frost will pick up first Big 10 road win on Saturday night.
Last season Nebraska crushed Illinois 54-35, as the Huskers set their Big 10 Conference scoring record. Quarterback Adrian Martinez completed 24-34 passes for 290 yards and three touchdowns. Devine Ozigbo also rushed for 162 yards and scored three touchdowns. But this year will not be that easy. They average 34 points a game and allow 20 points. The strength of the Fighting Illini is their rushing defense. Illinois allows just 79 yards a game, which ranks 17th in the nation. Keep an eye on Oluwole Betiku Jr. He already has 7.5 tackles for losses and 6 sacks this season, after just three games.
PLAYER TO WATCH: #2 REGGIE CORBIN
ILLINOIS RUNNING BACK
Last year Corbin rushed for 1,085 yards and scored 9 touchdowns. But this season he has been banged up. He rushed for 144 yards in the loss to Eastern Michigan last Saturday. Corbin averaged 8 yards a carry. If he is healthy, then look for him to get a lot of carries on Saturday night.
KEYS TO WIN:
The Nebraska offensive line has to protect Martinez. The Huskers allowed six sacks in the loss at Colorado. Illinois has a strong pass rush with 11 tackles for losses and 12 sacks this season.
The injury to Brenden Jaimes is huge at left tackle. Sophomore Broc Brando is ready to step in, so look for Illinois to give him a busy day.
Illinois plays in Memorial Stadium, where the capacity is 60,760. The stadium is hardly ever filled up with an enrollment of over 50,000 students. But this week the University of Illinois is giving away free student tickets.
I still look for about 15,000 Big Red Fans to make the trip to Champaign.
Nebraska is favored by 13.5 points / Total: 62 points
Temperatures in the mid 70’s / 15% Chance of rain.
Winds : 10-15 mph
Scott Frost gets his first Big 10 win on the road. The Huskers will test the Illinois rushing defense. I look for Maurice Washington and Dedrick Mills to put up some big numbers.
The Nebraska passing game is a risk, by getting sacked and having tackles for losses. The Husker defense is ready to stop Reggie Corbin, who has been banged up this season.
NEBRASKA 42 ILLINOIS 21
TV: BIG TEN NETWORK