On a gorgeous football evening. Nebraska sports got off to a great start with the Husker volleyball team sweeping the #3 Minnesota Golden Gophers. Next, it was up to the football team. Could the Huskers finally put together a dominating win?
Nebraska won the toss and deferred to the second half. Drew Brown's kickoff was a touchback and the Illini offense started the game at their 20. They weren’t able to do much as the Blackshirts forced a punt and the Husker offense took over
After a stuffed run and two incomplete (one dropped - which would become a theme tonight) passes the Huskers converted a first down on penalty. An Illinois safety was ejected for targeting. Fortunately, Tyler Hoppes appeared to be okay.
The ball was on the Husker 26 and Tanner Lee marched his team down the field in short order. De’mornay Pierson-El caught the pass and ran it in for six. Drew Brown's kick was good.
Huskers 7 Illinois 0
It it look like the Huskers were going to force a three-and-out, but a pass interference call gave new life to the Illini drive. The Blackshirts made a nice goal line stand to force a field goal. The first quarter came to an end with the score 7 for Nebraska and 0 for Illinois.
Nebraska ran a total of 8 offensive snaps in the quarter.
The Illini field goal was good.
Nebraska 7 Illinois 3
A 15-yard penalty on the Huskers after the field goal was enforced on the kickoff. The Huskers took over after a touchback.
The Illini defense dared the Huskers to throw the ball, and Danny Langsdorf obliged. Tanner Lee made some nice throws and the drive was capped off with an Ozigbo touchdown run of 15 yards. The Drew Brown kick was good.
Nebraska 14 Illinois 3
The Illinois zone-read caused some problems for the Blackshirts. The Illini drive was aided by a pass interference call on Eric Lee. However, they held and the home team punted while deep on the Husker side of the field. Pierson-El made the fair catch at the 11.
The the Husker offense sliced and diced and pounded their way down the field for another touchdown by Tyler Hoppes. When the offense is clicking like that, some credit needs to go to the big guys up front. The wideouts were also doing some great work after the catch (when they kept their hands on the ball).
The Drew Brown kick was good. Tanner Lee had completed 10 straight passes for 160 yards at this point. There was a little over a minute left in the first half.
Nebraska 21 Illinois 3
The Illini muffed the kickoff but covered the ball at the 18.
With only with only a little over a minute to work with, the Illinois offense put a small scare into the Husker fans in Champaign. Chayce Crouch especially had a nice effort as he broke several tackles and ran the ball onto the Husker side of the field. The drive stalled there after a Freedom Akinmoladun sack. Chris Webber picked off the Hail Mary pass short of the end zone.
Halftime Nebraska 21 Illinois 3
On the first play of the 2nd half, offensive linemen Brenden Jaimes missed a block. Tanner Lee took a hit and fumbled. The ball was recovered by Jaimes but the drive never got back on track. The Huskers punted for the first time in the game.
On the ensuing series, the Illini offense was able to move the ball into the redzone. They used some trickeration, a WR pass, to get to first and goal, however the Blackshirts held their ground and forced another short field goal.
Nebraska 21 Illinois 6
On the ensuing series, Devine Ozigbo fumbled the ball and the Illini recovered at the Husker 32. Chayce Crouch returned the favor and fumbled, but the home team retained possession. The Blackshirts moved the Illinois offense backward and forced a punt which bounced sideways at the 5, pinning the Huskers deep.
Nebraska moved the ball down the field, despite a few sloppy plays. The quarter ended with the score Nebraska 21 and Illinois 6.
Here is where I admit that I was also attending my son’s senior homecoming football game. The Tigers won their game and I had to do “Mom” duties with pictures and all.
Somewhere in there, the Huskers scored a touchdown.
Nebraska 28 Illinois 6
Devine Ozigbo closed out the game grinding ahead and chewing up clock. A personal foul penalty on Tanner Farmer backed the Huskers up. Facing a third and 20, the bruising back gained 21. That took the game under two minutes to go and led to victory formation.
Final score Nebraska 28 Illinois 6
Stanley Morgan— Sean Callahan (@Sean_Callahan) September 30, 2017
7 catches, 97 yards, 1 TD on 10 targets #Huskers
It was a good win against a team the Huskers should have beaten soundly. The fact that they closed the deal tonight is (hopefully) a sign of progress.
Next up, the Huskers host the Wisconsin Badgers on October 7.