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Five Reasons Nebraska Will Win: Illinois

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Lovie and the Fighting Illini come to town

NCAA Football: Illinois at Maryland Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

First: Adrian Martinez Is Nebraska’s One Constant

If I’m still writing this column for the next three seasons then it is safe to assume that Martinez is probably going to be one of the five reasons every single week.

He is good. Real good.

I remember an article earlier this season that took some shots at Frost for some of Frosts’ statements he tends to make. One of them was about Frosts missing out on Tua Tagovailoa who is running the battleship that is Alabama’s offense this season.

But Frost happened to recruit a kid out of California who looks like he might be getting some Heisman votes before his career is over at Nebraska.

In fact, how good could he be? I felt like last week against Ohio State that Adrian Martinez actually made several mental errors beyond that turnover, which really held this team back for beating Ohio State. It was not his best game, and yet I think he was still actually pretty good.

His ceiling is super high. And we all know that “super high” is a technical term.

Two: Scott Frost And His Offensive Assistant’s Are Just Getting Started

While watching Nebraska go toe-to-toe with Ohio State last Saturday I read on twitter from various people that Scott Frost is pulling out all the stops in order to keep up with Ohio State. We were seeing plays from Frost that we haven’t seen all season. I don’t think he is “pulling out all the stops.”

I think he is just scratching the surface.

We continue to hear from opposing coaches about all the stress Frost’s offense puts on a defense.

And he’s just getting started.

Three: That Dreaded Pass Defense Took The Day Off Against Ohio State

Then what took it’s place was the best pass defense Ohio State saw all year. Or at least it was the defense that played a part in Dwayne Haskins having the the worst game of this season.

Haskins’s line was 18/32 for 252 yards. Two touchdowns and one interception. It was the second lowest amount of yards thrown by Haskins’ this season. His lowest passing total was against Rutgers in which Ohio State won 52-3.

But it was just because Ohio State focused on running the ball right?

Last Saturday, Haskins had his lowest QBR rating as well as his adjusted QBR rating of the season. Regular QBR was 48.8 and the adjusted QBR rating was 47.7.

The second lowest adjusted QBR was against Penn State. Which ended up at 63.9. Haskins’ highest was 99.1 at Tulane.

Last week all I heard after my Five to Win Column for Ohio State was that Haskins’ was going to throw all over us. Well he didn’t.

So it is time to give some credit where credit is due. Which is to the Blackshirts.

Isn’t it nice to see in-season improvement?

Four: Illinois Does Not Have The Old Lovie Smith Defense We Saw From The Chicago Bears

These are the current statistical rankings for the Illinois defense:

  • 125th in total defense
  • 121st in passing defense
  • 122nd in rushing defense
  • 111th in defensive efficiency

I’ll just leave that there. You can make of it what you will.

Five: Speaking Of That Illinois Defense...What About That Nebraska Offense?

Over the last six games the Nebraska offense is averaging (h/t to Big Red Wrap-Up):

  • 35.3 points per game
  • 526.5 total yards per game
  • 7.02 total yards per play
  • 294.2 average passing yards
  • 215.7 average rushing yards

And I’ll leave that there, and please go to town on making it what you will.

Poll

Illinois vs. Nebraska. What happens?

This poll is closed

  • 70%
    Nebraska wins and covers (-17)
    (477 votes)
  • 26%
    Nebraska wins and doesn’t cover
    (177 votes)
  • 2%
    Nebraska loses
    (20 votes)
674 votes total Vote Now