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The Morning After: Illinois

The sun came up. So did the hot takes. We have them for you here.

Michael Hickey/Getty Images

Brandon Vogel, Hail Varsity: Culture Shock

Watch the play again and that looks true, too. Ozigbo isn’t selling the run-fake at all. He’s getting to the flat. Both tight ends, Carter and Sam Cotton, end up going out on routes as well. Did Armstrong know it wasn’t a pass but then tried to turn it into one as a reaction?

That we don’t know right now. Armstrong didn’t talk after the game. In the grand scheme of things, the answer doesn’t matter much anyway. It doesn’t change anything. The point is there was confusion.

Good teams are not confused at that moment. Nebraska doesn’t look like a very good team at the moment.

Dirk Chatelain, Omaha World-Herald: Pin this loss directly on Mike Riley and Danny Langsdorf

The honeymoon is over, folks. Nebraska is 2-3. Mike Riley and Danny Langsdorf lost this football game with dreadful mismanagement, not just of the clock, but of the entire offense.

Over and over, rather than feeding Ozigbo and Andy Janovich, they let Armstrong heave deep balls like a fourth-grader playing "500" at recess. This was Bill Callahan at Iowa State in 2004. This was Shawn Watson at Missouri in 2009 (luckily, Ndamukong Suh bailed him out that night). This was a debacle far worse than Texas ’09 or Wisconsin ’12.

Sure, those games had higher stakes and bigger audiences — lucky for NU, nobody in America cared about Huskers-Illini on Saturday. But you’d have a hard time finding a game in which the coaching staff could’ve so easily prevented defeat.

Matt Daniels, Champaign News-Gazette: Emotional win for Illinois

Illinois pulled off a thrilling comeback, replete with all the drama one would want to see out of a Saturday matinee, before defeating Nebraska 14-13 in front of an announced crowd of 40,138 at Memorial Stadium.

"I don’t ever remember losing a game like this," Nebraska coach Mike Riley said.

Illinois fans may have a hard time remembering their team winning a game, against a tradition-rich opponent, in this fashion. Which is what they did against the Cornhuskers.

Steve Sipple, Lincoln Journal-Star: Nebraska's 2-3 start reflects poorly on new staff

Five games into their tenures at Nebraska, the Huskers are 2-3 (0-1 Big Ten). The first two defeats, to BYU and Miami, were jarring enough for everyone involved, including an intensely loyal fan base. Saturday's collapse — a 14-13 loss to deeply flawed Illinois — feels even worse. Even more jarring. More debilitating, if you can imagine that.

There will be more questions. Harder questions. Questions that will cut deeply for even a staff with veteran coaches with thick skin. Every layer of that skin will be helpful this week.

The questions will cut deeply for several reasons. High atop the list is, Nebraska is better than each of the three teams to which it lost. When that happens, it invariably comes down to coaching.

Yes, Tommy Armstrong made a startlingly bad decision on Nebraska's next-to-last possession, but his team shouldn't have been in that position. This loss isn't on Armstrong. Nor is NU's 2-3 record. The blame rests squarely with the new staff. That record simply doesn't add up.

Tom Shatel, Omaha World-Herald: 31 reasons this Husker victory became a Husker loss

I’m so tired of offenses that need a decoder. We sound like cavemen pounding our clubs, but big linemen and running backs are commodities you can lure to Lincoln, Nebraska. And now Big Ten weather.

Why does Nebraska keep hiring coaches who don’t understand this concept? Just because Nebraska plays in the Big Ten West does not mean it’s the West Coast.

Riley and Langsdorf have said repeatedly they believe in balance, that they had running backs and rushing numbers at Oregon State. But here was a chance to prove it.

The honeymoon’s over, not the marriage. But this week Riley and Langsdorf are sleeping on the couch.