Nebraska rush offense vs. Illinois rush defense
Nebraska will be the best rushing team — by some margin — that Illinois has faced this year, and the Illini don't appear to have the personnel to completely match up on an every-down basis. Husker I-back Ameer Abdullah has 625 yards on 6.79 yards per carry. Illinois ranks 83rd nationally in rushing yards per game allowed, but it has faced quite a few rush attempts, too. It's hard to see Huskers not winning this category.
Nebraska pass offense vs. Illinois pass defense
The Huskers' passing game hasn't been consistent — quarterback Tommy Armstrong has completed just 55.3 percent of his passes — but it is explosive. Nebraska has eight passing plays that have gone for at least 30 yards. Illinois hasn't been that leaky, but its secondary has been vulnerable to the short-to-medium throws. If Illinois stacks the box, NU has already shown it will throw the ball deep.
Illinois rush offense vs. Nebraska rush defense
Nebraska's defense is structurally vulnerable to a consistent power running game, but few offenses are willing to commit to it. Given Illinois ran for 195 yards against NU last year, chances are offensive coordinator Bill Cubit will commit. Backs Josh Ferguson and Donovonn Young are a good lightning-and-thunder punch. NU's front four has been stout, but issues linger at linebacker, where David Santos is out for Saturday's game and Josh Banderas is struggling.
Illinois pass offense vs. Nebraska pass defense
Quarterback Wes Lunt has a strong arm and ample trust in that arm. He also has decent — not great, but decent — wideouts, including two Iowa Western products, Geronimo Allison and Martize Barr. While the Huskers' secondary took a few lumps against Miami, it's still allowing just a 51.6-percent completion rate. And don't forget: Nebraska got two interceptions against Miami. The more a team throws the ball, the more comfortable Nebraska is.
Other than a spotty kickoff return unit, this is the best top-to-bottom special teams start Nebraska has enjoyed since 2011. Sam Foltz is booming punts and De'Mornay Pierson-El is a legit threat to return them for big yards. NU's kickoff coverage was more than solid against Miami even without Mauro Bondi. Illinois has one of the Big Ten best returners (so far) in V'Angelo Bentley, but the Illini have missed 2 of 4 field goal attempts.
It's Homecoming, a late-night start, and alternate-uniform night for Nebraska. Illinois has won just one Big Ten game under Tim Beckman. Since 2012, Illinois has played two road games against ranked teams, getting outscored 97-22.
Key matchup: Coaches: Bill Cubit vs. Bo Pelini/John Papuchis
Western Kentucky and Texas State dropped 34 and 35 points on Illinois, respectively. Illinois is going to give up some points. Nebraska is only in trouble if it can't stop Illinois more than a handful of times. If Cubit calls the game of his life, and NU's defense isn't up the challenge, things could get interesting around midnight.
Illinois should put some points on the board, but Nebraska is the bigger and frankly faster football team between the two. That, coupled with home-field advantage and Illinois' continued rebuilding project, should favor the Huskers.
Our prediction: Nebraska 45, Illinois 24
Big Red Today coverage
Former Nebraska outside linebacker Breon Dixon will transfer to Iowa Western Community College, Reivers coach Scott Strohmeier confirmed Tuesday night.
Iowa Western Community College defensive tackle Perrion Winfrey has offers from several of college football's giants — including Nebraska.
The Davis twins have loved their time at Nebraska and laud NU’s willingness to let two 300-pounders find their way, throw some discus and sack some quarterbacks.
Once one of the highest paid players in the league, Suh went more than two months as a free agent before finding a new team.
Mills is now admitted to the school. He'll arrive Wednesday and immediately get to work.
The final standings are in and roughly half of Nebraska’s teams met Moos’ base standard of finishing in the top half of the Big Ten this season.
On Monday's episode, Adam Carriker breaks down the race for the College Football Playoff following spring practices and give his four-team prediction for 2019.
Lovie Smith and quarterbacks? They don’t go well together.
Demariyon Houston, out of Oklahoma City's Millwood High, is a 100- and 200-meter champ. He also has great hands, maybe his biggest asset in college. Not to mention he was class president. He will be the first in his immediate…
Nebraska running back signee Dedrick Mills said on Saturday that his grades from Garden City (Kansas) Community College are in, NU is reviewing his transcript and he believes he will be in Lincoln this week — perhaps by Tuesday.
In less than a year, the NCAA’s transfer portal is already beginning to turn against the student-athletes it was supposed to help.
According to a Wednesday report from USA Today, the league had nearly $759 million in revenue for the 2018 fiscal year.
On Friday's episode, Adam Carriker gives his way-too-early, just-for-fun preview of September's Nebraska-Colorado game.
Bill Moos wants to improve Memorial Stadium. But he won't expand it. The athletic director spoke for the final time of the 2018-2019 school year on Wednesday night. Moos said there is currently a proposal out there to put in…
Former Husker safety Cam'ron Jones, who announced last month he's leaving Nebraska, is headed back to Texas.
Fox announced this week it would place the best game from its weekly college football menu in the 11 a.m. CT slot.
On Wednesday's episode, Adam Carriker shares his thoughts on kids playing tackle football, what age range they should start playing, flag football and more.
World-Herald staff writers Sam McKewon, Chris Heady and Evan Bland tackle the hottest Husker headlines in the latest episode of the Pick Six Podcast.
When Noa Pola-Gates arrives in late May, it’s possible he could get trained at every position — defensive backs coach Travis Fisher has indicated that each of NU’s incoming defensive backs is versatile enough to do so — but he…
Offensive lineman Jerald Foster signed a deal Sunday with the Washington Redskins, and defensive lineman Freedom Akinmoladun inked with the New York Giants on Monday.
Despite earlier reports that Washington entered not guilty pleas when he waived formal arraignment during an April hearing, there have not been any pleas entered in the case, said a Santa Clara County Superior Court spokesperson.
This timeline of events in the Maurice Washington investigation is based on allegations outlined in court documents, investigator reports and officials' statements.
Football coaches like to talk about culture, so much that it becomes a cliche. But it's still true that culture matters, and it's important to Scott Frost.
On Monday's episode, Adam Carriker talks about the youth on the Husker defense, their off-season additions and what realistic expectations are for the Blackshirts in 2019.
The 6-foot, 185-pounder had 96 career catches for 1,237 yards and six touchdowns over three-plus seasons at Cal.
Nebraska received a graduate transfer commit Sunday from California’s Kanawai Noa.Three takes on the decision of the 6-foot, 185-pounder.
Nebraska running back Maurice Washington is set for his second appearance in a California court for charges filed against him in February.
Nebraska quarterbacks coach Mario Verduzco heads into the Husker football offices at 4:30 a.m. Sunday mornings to review the work of Adrian Martinez, Noah Vedral, Andrew Bunch and any other NU signal caller who takes a snap for the boys…
Northwestern defies conventional logic by remaining its stingy self on defense and letting its more-talented opponents make critical mistakes at the wrong times.
A top Husker 2020 recruiting target was named Friday night the best athlete in South Dakota by the Sioux Falls Argus Leader.