Nebraska rush offense vs. Illinois rush defense
The Illini defense has had success slowing down the run games of Western Illinois, Kent State and Middle Tennessee State, but North Carolina — which resembles Nebraska's old offense — averaged 6.86 yards per carry. NU's current run game has been hot and cold, but offensive coordinator Danny Langsdorf has found creative ways to create good plays in the run game. Against Illinois, he'd be wise to lean more on quarterback Tommy Armstrong and designed QB runs.
Nebraska pass offense vs. Illinois pass defense
Armstrong is off to a terrific start, having thrown for 1,266 yards and 11 touchdowns in four games. His receivers had a strong game against Southern Miss, and the Huskers should get De'Mornay Pierson-El back in some capacity. Illinois' secondary — and its whole defense — is much improved from last season. Illinois' pass rush, featuring Jihad Ward, will give NU's offensive line as many problems as Miami did.
Illinois rush offense vs. Nebraska rush defense
The Huskers sell out to stop the run — at the expense at stopping the pass, so even though Illinois has a crafty running back in Josh Ferguson and a better offensive line than it's had in recent years, chances are good that the Illini don't run for more 100 yards in the game. NU dissuades it as much as possible.
Illinois pass offense vs. Nebraska pass defense
NU's secondary and linebackers looked really good for three quarters against Southern Miss and appeared to be a complete mess in the fourth quarter. The back seven have yet to put together a complete game, and Illinois quarterback Wes Lunt is strong-armed and smart enough to take the Huskers apart. Ferguson is one of the nation's better pass-catching running backs, while Geronimo Allison is a strong deep threat. The Huskers' secondary has to figure itself out.
Nebraska has been a mixed bag through four games. Made and missed field goals. A few decent punt returns offset by a whiff on an onside kick. Good kick coverage offset by a few punts off the foot of punter Sam Foltz. Nothing has been consistent thus far. Illinois has blocked three kicks already this year and returner V'Angelo Bentley is dangerous.
The Huskers should have a good group of fans who make the trip to the other Memorial Stadium in the Big Ten West. That'll help. But Illinois can play this game a lot looser than NU. What do the Illini have to lose? Nothing; the head coach has already been fired and the interim is a long shot to get the permanent job. Nebraska is going to feel the pressure to win and keep winning, even with a new coaching staff.
Key matchup: Wes Lunt vs. a low-confidence secondary
There's just no way to feel great about where Nebraska's defensive backs are right now, and NU defensive coordinator Mark Banker is already starting to repeat himself on what needs to be fixed. It all needs to look better, and Illinois — with its spread, no-huddle offense — is not really the team to make it easier on the Huskers. But if Nebraska can rattle Lunt, it should win this game.
Illinois is a bad matchup for the Huskers for a lot of reasons, but mostly because the Illini's offense is diverse and dangerous in the same ways Southern Miss and Miami were. Nebraska's defense may be without linebacker Josh Banderas and defensive tackle Vincent Valentine by game time. Then again, Armstrong is playing the most confident football of his career. He believes he can bring the Huskers back from big deficits and he likes the new offense. That counts for a lot.
Our prediction: Nebraska 38, Illinois 30
Big Red Today coverage
Aggressive is how NU's head coach wants his start quarterback to stay going forward.
No comment from Frost on the injury to left tackle Brenden Jaimes, who left the game in the fourth quarter. He said the depth chart indicated the next player up. That would be Broc Bando, who finished the fourth quarter.
For all that has happened to the Huskers in three weeks, everything resets for the upcoming nine-game Big Ten slate.
Scott Frost is ready for the start of Big Ten play, and the Husker coach spent about 17 minutes Monday at his weekly press conference setting the stage for the week.
Coach Scott Frost announced Monday the 5-foot-11, 200-pound defensive back will lose his walk-on status thanks to steady, positive production on and off the field.
Nebraska had its best offensive game of the season with 526 yards in a 44-8 win over Northern Illinois. But coach Scott Frost, in his press conference Monday, said the team can still play a lot better on offense.
It'll be the third straight night game in a row for Nebraska and it'll be the third straight time OSU has played a night game at NU.
Nebraska’s defense held Northern Illinois' offense to six points Saturday. Though it was a MAC team at home under the lights, the Blackshirts want that goal-line stand to burn into your brains. To remind you they’re not here to mess…
This year, the Husker D is the dutiful older brother — figuratively, literally — of the younger, more explosive, more inconsistent offense.
Nebraska is in the market for a kicker in its 2020 class.
Top 10 generally remains unchanged except for Utah taking the No. 9 spot away from Notre Dame who is now in tenth.
Nebraska walked out of Memorial Stadium with a 44-8 victory against Northern Illinois on Saturday, and The World-Herald was there for all of it. Check out our complete coverage of the game.
Frost endured a brutal week. His team blew a 17-point lead to an old rival. And for the first time since he returned to Lincoln on a white horse, Husker fans pointed the finger at him, not his players or…
There are still a lot of questions for Nebraska as we watch an identity take shape. What mattered on Saturday night was that the Huskers provided a resounding answer just when they needed it most.
The body language of offensive players leaving the field gave them away. Finally, they had played something close to a complete game.
A line of men in red — a little fed up, a lot hungry, sensing a chance at blood — bolted toward one of the loneliest, most vulnerable positions on the football field. The punter.
The junior from Elkhorn South was the center of attention on the sideline prior to kickoff between Nebraska and Northern Illinois.
The walk-on safety transfer from Air Force was minding his own business when his name was screamed by a coach on the sideline.
Although Nebraska played one of the cleanest game of the Scott Frost era and beat Northern Illinois 44-8, two key Huskers may have sustained injuries that keep them out of future practice or play.
Nebraska coach Scott Frost spoke for nearly nine minutes breaking down the Huskers' performance against Northern Illinois.
Each week, The World-Herald will track Nebraska quarterback Adrian Martinez's play game-to-game, including wow plays, turnovers, market indicator and more.
World-Herald staff writer Evan Bland takes a look at Nebraska's effort on both sides of the ball during the Huskers' victory against Northern Illinois.
It was easy for Northern Illinois coach Thomas Hammock to identify what kept the Huskies’ offense from scoring any touchdowns Saturday night against a suddenly stout Nebraska defense.
A closer look at the defining stats and figures from the Huskers' 44-8 win over Northern Illinois on Saturday.
World-Herald columnist Tom Shatel shares his immediate thoughts following the Huskers' 44-8 victory against Northern Illinois.
Three things we learned and three things we still don’t know about the Huskers coming out of Saturday's win over Northern Illinois.
On Saturday's episode, Adam Carriker gives his quick take to Nebraska defeating Northern Illinois.
Nebraska led the game 30-5 at halftime and maintained its lead in the second half as backups got to play in the final minutes.
Nebraska's already-thin depth at tackle may get thinner after starting left tackle Brenden Jaimes was injured in the fourth quarter of the Huskers' game against Northern Illinois.
Northern Illinois had a solid contingent of fans in the stands Saturday, especially in the southern-most corner of West stadium.