Nebraska rush offense vs. Illinois rush defense
Nebraska is getting good production from I-back Ameer Abdullah, who has rushed for at least 98 yards in all four games so far and ranks third in the Big Ten at 116.2 per contest. NU also will hit the Illini with an offensive line that is playing well and depth in the backfield. Illinois failed its biggest challenge against Washington, when Huskies tailback Bishop Sankey ran for 208 yards and a TD. Edge: NU
Nebraska pass offense vs. Illinois pass defense
Husker quarterbacks have been efficient so far, completing 70.3 percent of their passes with 11 TDs and just one interception. Redshirt freshman Tommy Armstrong isn't as polished as Taylor Martinez, but he and Ron Kellogg are surrounded by good targets. Illinois' first three opponents passed for 300-plus yards before Miami only attempted 15 throws against the Illini. Edge: NU
Illinois rush offense vs. Nebraska rush defense
Illinois has to be licking its chops after South Dakota State tailbacks gouged the Husker defense for 8.8 yards per carry and were never tackled for a loss. The Illini have averaged only 37 attempts a game, so the emphasis will be on getting the most out of those runs and keeping the NU defense honest. Edge: Illinois
Illinois pass offense vs. Nebraska pass defense
Illinois senior Nathan Scheelhaase has been a pleasant surprise in his transition from dual-threat quarterback to a pro-style offense. He ranks No. 10 nationally in passer efficiency and leads the Big Ten with 290.5 yards per game. Nebraska will have to find a way to generate some pressure, but also remember that he can be a dangerous runner if allowed to escape the pocket. Edge: Illinois
Illinois has edges in both kickoff and punt return numbers, although Kenny Bell appears to be closer and closer to breaking some kick returns for Nebraska. The Huskers lead all Big Ten teams with 20 touchbacks on kickoffs and rank third in net punting (39.7 yards). Illinois already has missed three field goals. Edge: NU
Both teams have struggled defensively, but Nebraska has forced 10 turnovers compared to just four for the Illini. NU also is coming off a bye, and is 4-0 over the last four seasons in games after a week off. Illinois is leaving its home state for the first time after three games in Champaign and one in Chicago, and the Illini won just four "true" road games since 2008. Edge: NU
Key matchup: NU safeties vs. Illinois' deep pass
It might be a big Saturday for Corey Cooper and the Nebraska safeties with Illinois' propensity for throwing the football down the field (22 pass plays of 20-plus yards). It also could be a welcome change from the first four opponents completing 63 percent of their passes with a variety of shorter throws mixed in. The issue for the Huskers is that their safety play hasn't been great, and it's unclear who will take most of the snaps next to Cooper.
Illinois already has scored 161 points, more than any previous Illini team ever put up in the first four games of a season. Nebraska is averaging 43.2 per game despite a scoreless second half against UCLA and a let-up against Wyoming. So the bottom line might be which of the porous defenses (NU ranked No. 107, Illinois at No. 92) can piece together a few stops — or which offense can score last. If the conditions are at all a factor, the Huskers have an ace in the hole with their running game.
Our prediction: Nebraska 40, Illinois 35
Big Red Today coverage
Frank Verducci has coached at 17 different stops, including five NFL teams. He worked for Bobby Ross, Hayden Fry and Dick LeBeau. He worked with Kirk Ferentz, Bill Snyder and Mike Zimmer. Now he's at Nebraska because Scott Frost shares…
Nebraska has 11 offers out to quarterbacks in the 2019 class. Some of those include pro-style quarterbacks Mike Riley’s staff offered. But that doesn’t include prospects labeled as "athletes" by recruiting services that Nebraska is pursuing as quarterbacks — like…
Police took veteran NFL guard and former Husker Richie Incognito to a Florida mental hospital after he allegedly threw weights and tennis balls at gym employees and another patron and told officers the government is spying on him.
In the fourth episode of Season 3 of "Where I Come From" — a World-Herald podcast — host Dirk Chatelain sits down for an in-depth interview with Omaha broadcasting legend Jack Payne.
Nebraska Athletic Director Bill Moos hinted in a radio interview Monday night that he’d like to see more nonconference games against Power Five conference opponents. Moos even named some possible options from NU’s old days in the Big Eight and…
Grant Wistrom watched Central Florida go from winless to undefeated in two seasons, but that isn't what most impressed him about Scott Frost's time in Orlando. It was the way Frost related to his players.
World-Herald staff writers Sam McKewon, Chris Heady and Evan Bland tackle the hottest Husker headlines in the May 22 episode of the Pick Six Podcast.
When Nebraska Athletic Director Bill Moos was hired in October 2017, one of the first messes he tried to clean up was the Black Friday debacle.
Ask Minnesota football coach P.J. Fleck how he’s doing and the reply often is an exclamation of his favorite word: “Elite!’’ The Gophers didn’t have many elite days last season once Big Ten play started.
Richie Incognito's playing days might not be over after all.
All year round, former Husker and NFL veteran Adam Carriker is taking the pulse of Husker Nation. In Monday's episode, Carriker discusses Scott Frost continuing to change the culture at Nebraska and bringing back the Unity Council.
Scott Frost has a recruiting pitch for in-state prospects thinking about spurning hometown Nebraska. Think twice. Learn from Frost’s example.
The timing does, indeed, seem right. Scott Frost is leading a revival to not only honor Nebraska football's past but also turn toward the future in a unified front. Having Frank Solich, Tom Osborne and Frost in the same sold-out…
This week, the Big Ten takes over TD Ameritrade Park. And there’s only one small problem. Nebraska is taking this year off.
Nebraska offensive lineman Michael Decker announced Saturday he has decided to retire from playing football. He started five games at center last year before a season-ending knee injury.
Linebacker Andrew Ward announced on Twitter Saturday evening he was leaving the Nebraska football program after one season.
Pima (Arizona) Community College defensive tackle Tony Fair is ready make a decision on his next college. Until Friday it appeared Indiana, not far from Fair’s hometown of South Bend, would cruise to landing his commitment. Then Nebraska offered a…
25 years ago Scott Frost won a state title in the shot put, one of the final moments of his spectacular high school career. On Friday, one of his top recruits, Cam Jurgens, bested the mark set by his future…
All year round, former Husker and NFL veteran Adam Carriker is taking the pulse of Husker Nation. In Friday's episode, Carriker debates dream nonconference matchups for Nebraska and why he wants the Huskers to face off against Alabama.
Buy-in is high. Progress is being made. But Nebraska football's journey to excellence remains a marathon, not a sprint, coach Scott Frost reiterated Thursday in a World-Herald interview.
It might finally be time for Frank Solich to return to Nebraska.
Nebraska coaches keep gushing about the city of Lincoln, so Lakia Henry, one of the nation’s top junior college recruits, is excited to see it this weekend.
New Husker football coach Scott Frost threw for over 2,600 yards and 18 touchdowns in his NU career. On Thursday, Frost showed off his signature arm strength once again in Lincoln.
Mo Seisay will make his return to football in Canada. The former Husker cornerback signed a contract Wednesday with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers of the Canadian Football League. Seisay hasn't played in a professional football game since 2014.
Former Husker Randy Gregory, who was given a one-year suspension in January 2017 for repeated substance abuse violations, will file for reinstatement to the NFL on Thursday, according to the NFL Network.
All year round, former Husker and NFL veteran Adam Carriker is taking the pulse of Husker Nation. In Wednesday's episode, Carriker talks to Faux Pelini about sharing a cat with Bo Pelini, the spring game moment, Carl Pelini, adventures of…
Which was the best Nebraska football team to not win a national championship? World-Herald staff writer Sam McKewon first posed the question on Twitter with four options — 1982, 1983, 1993 or 1999. Then Tuesday afternoon Tom Osborne was asked…
Nebraska coach Scott Frost said Wednesday it’d be “foolish to anticipate” which player he’ll pick as starting quarterback next fall. The four signal-callers left on campus — sophomores Andrew Bunch and Noah Vedral and freshmen Tristan Gebbia and Adrian Martinez…
Michael Johnson is getting close to wrapping up his recruitment. The four-star quarterback from Eugene, Oregon, told The World-Herald that he plans on visiting a handful of schools over the next few weeks and committing after that.
High-profile Nebraska signee Maurice Washington is set to graduate from a California high school soon, but his academic status as a Husker football player could be up in the air after that.