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The Morning After: Illinois

What are the folks on the internet saying about Nebraska’s win over Illinois going into the bye week?

Gallery: Late Husker Surge Toppels Illinois David McGee/CN

Tom Shatel, Omaha World-Herald: Tenopir's fingerprints all over gritty performance that perfectly honored 'Uncle Miltie'

The old coach also wanted to be buried as a Husker. So they put his 1994-95 national champion fleece on him, along with a football autographed by those who went to the visitation Friday night.

In the end, Tenopir was wearing a red “N” and surrounded by family, friends and his “boys.” It was the perfect tribute for the man.

But the tributes had only just begun.

Hours later, at Tenopir’s old business address, Nebraska found itself down 16-10 to a feisty Illinois team and things were getting a little nervous.

That’s when it looked like Milt Tenopir Day at Memorial Stadium.

Steve Sipple, Lincoln Journal-Star: Banker's crew shows progress, but red flags are glaring

Nebraska defensive coordinator Mark Banker will take the win. Darned right he'll take it.

He’ll take that 5-0 record as well. It beats the daylights out of last year's 2-3 start.

Of course, Banker surely understands the Huskers' best defense Saturday was their offense, and you know exactly where we're going with this angle.

Nebraska took the lead for good against Illinois by piecing together an 18-play, 75-yard touchdown march that required 10 minutes, 42 seconds of game time and more than 30 minutes of real time.

It actually seemed longer than that. It seemed like I grew more ear hair. Couples broke up. New restaurants opened, and closed. Couples reunited.

Plenty in life can occur in 30 minutes.

Bob Asmussen, Champaign News-Gazette: Progress made, more needed for Illinois

The Illinois football team pushed the Cornhuskers (5-0, 2-0 Big Ten) on Saturday. Another sellout crowd — with a ridiculous 351 in a row — fretted.

A lot.

Illinois led 16-10 going into the fourth quarter before the home team went on a 21-0 run.

“The locker room (at halftime) was very upbeat,” quarterback Wes Lunt said. “We’ve got to work on when things aren’t going well, being positive and keeping our heads up.”

Illinois dropped to 1-3 after its first Big Ten game of the season. But there is hope for Smith’s team going into the next game against Purdue. And the following week at Rutgers.

“We knew we took a step in the right direction offensively,” Lunt said.

“We got better as a football team,” Smith added. “We know we still have a loss, but I think we made improvements in a lot of different areas.”

Small steps.

“If we continue this pace, we’ll be OK,” Smith said. “It’s tough going on the road in a hostile enviroment. We see promise in our future.”

Shannon Ryan, Chicago Tribune: Nebraska overtakes Illinois in Fourth Quarter for 31-16 victory

Illinois (1-3, 0-1 Big Ten) had a 16-10 lead in the fourth quarter. The defense had kept Nebraska (5-0, 2-0) out of the end zone since the first drive of the game, but the Cornhuskers surged for a decisive 21-0 fourth-quarter advantage.

A critical 75-yard drive that stretched for 10 minutes, 42 seconds resulted in Terrell Newby's 3-yard touchdown run for Nebraska (5-0, 2-0). The Illini defense kept the drive alive with two game-changing penalties.

Dirk Chatelain, Omaha WH: Through adversity, Huskers bond grows tighter

A year ago, Nebraska inexplicably lost a heartbreaker to the same Illini when the offense botched a third-and-seven and the defense gave up a 50-yard pass. Now Big Red is coming up clutch, especially on defense.

What’s the difference?

“We’re a family,” said Foster, who caught a fourth-quarter touchdown pass. “We always look out for our brothers. Everybody’s taking care of each other. That’s what we do. That’s why everybody’s so comfortable around each other. We’re a family.”

As we talked, Foster looked across the interview room at Michael Rose-Ivey, the lightning rod linebacker who caused a stir when he and two teammates knelt during the national anthem at Northwestern.

A critic on Twitter Saturday blamed Nebraska’s slow start on “the distraction.” (Rose-Ivey missed a few position meetings last week to discuss bigger picture issues with Mike Riley). I wonder if the same critic stuck around for the final defensive stops when Rose-Ivey exhorted his teammates on the sideline. When Nebraska displayed its new trademark tenacity.

“We have a focus right now and we have a goal,” Rose-Ivey said. “And we can see our goal and it’s getting closer and closer.”

The Huskers have much to prove before we call them a Top-10 team and a contender for the Big Ten throne. But they’re developing a championship-caliber sense of belief.