The Huskers moved up to 15th in the country after the win over Northwestern last week and return home on Saturday to take on the Fighting Illini.
The Huskers are expected to win this Saturday, but can't overlook Illinois. Here are the reasons I think Nebraska comes away with the win.
Tommy Armstrong is playing at an All-Conference level. He was recently ranked the 45th best player in the country by an ESPN writer. Armstrong has taken the next step in has career. He is not necessarily a better thrower, or even a better decision maker. The coaching staff is using his legs more, and that is why Tommy has looked so good. If the coaching staff continues to use Tommy like this, Illinois will have a tough time stopping the Nebraska offense.
Nebraska ranks fourth in the country with nine interceptions on the year. Nebraska has changed its defensive philosophy and the results are noticeable. While they don't excel at stopping the run or pass, they are giving up just 18 points per game. I would look for Nebraska to give up some yards to Illinois, but I would also be surprised to see the Illini put up more than 17 points.
The beautiful thing about Nebraska’s offense is that it can do it all. If you start to shut the run down, Tommy Armstrong has the ability to beat you over the top with the deep ball. If you are shutting down the passing game, Nebraska has four capable backs and a quarterback who just ran for over 100 yards, ready to slice and dice your defense. Even if Illinois is successful in shutting down a part of the Nebraska offense, the other element will tear your defense up.
Nebraska Should Be Able to Get Pressure on the QB:
Nebraska is playing another offensive line that has struggled to protect its quarterback. Illinois ranks in the 60s in the country allowing eight sacks on the year. Wes Lunt has been pretty good this year, completing over 60 percent of his passes and throwing six touchdowns to just one interception. Nebraska will need to get pressure on Lunt because he has the ability to pick apart a defense.
Nebraska Knows not to Overlook Anyone:
Nebraska knows that this could be a special season. The Huskers are 4-0 and looking to advance to 5-0 and closer to the Top-10. It doesn't matter how they do it, but they just have to win. Last weekend was ugly, they made a lot of mistakes, but when it came down to crunch time, the team stepped up. The difference in this year and last years’ team is, no moment seems too big for them. When the light shined last year, the Huskers crumbled. That has not been the case this season.