Nebraska Preview: #15 Cornhuskers Host Illinois
A year ago, everything that could go wrong seemed to go wrong for the Nebraska Cornhuskers football team.
Saturday's game in Lincoln is a continuation of what some are calling the 'Redemption Tour' - match-ups with Big Ten teams that beat the Cornhuskers last year, despite being underdogs.
It was the fifth game of the season last year that saw Illinois rally from 13 down in the fourth quarter to beat Nebraska 14-13 in the final seconds. The Huskers turned it over twice that day and only managed 105 yards thru the air to an Illini team that finished 2-6 in the Big Ten..
Illinois (1-2) has a new head coach this season, former NFL player and coach Lovie Smith, but the Illini have struggled early, with their only win coming against Murray State of the FCS.
The strength of this Illinois team is the defense, with lineman Carroll Phillips leading the Big Ten in sacks (4) and linebacker Hardy Nickerson Jr. tops in the league in tackles (10 per game).
Offensively, quarterback Wes Lunt is hitting on 62 percent of his passes, but has been prone to being a bit conservative. His top receiver is Malik Turner who has three touchdown catches and averages 74 yards per game.
On the ground, running backs Kendrick Foster and KeShawn Vaughn have combined for 362 yards and four touchdowns in three qames.
The Illini will be well rested coming in off of their bye week.
Nebraska comes in a little banged up. Wide receiver Alonzo Moore will miss the game with an injured shoulder, while offensive lineman Tanner Farmer is out with a high ankle sprain.
Kickoff is 2:30 PM, Saturday, at Memorial Stadium. You can follow the Huskers live, all season long on ESPN 99.1.
Ilinois has not won in Lincoln since 1924. Nebraska is heading into their bye week after this game.
In the Big Ten opener last week, the Huskers survived a pair of first half turnovers and a series of bad snaps to win 24-13 win at Northwestern.
Quarterback Tommy Armstrong Jr. led the way with 378 yards on his own, including a career-high 132 rushing yards, and another 246 yards thru the air.
The Blackshirt defense came up with a couple of key sacks from Kevin Maurice to stop a Wildcat scoring threat at the end of the first half, and then added interceptions from Aaron Williams and Josh Kalu to seal their seventh win in eight games, dating back to last season.
I talked with the 'Voice of the Huskers', Greg Sharpe, about the Northwestern win and week's match-up with Illinois: