Nebraska returns to Memorial Stadium on Saturday for a Big Ten West Division matchup with Illinois. Nebraska enters the game at 2-7 overall and 1-5 in Big Ten play, following a 36-31 loss at No. 8 Ohio State on Saturday. The Huskers held a 21-16 halftime advantage, before the Buckeyes rallied in the second half for a victory. Nebraska continued to make strides in the matchup at Ohio State, putting up 450 yards of total offense, while the defense had three takeaways for the second straight week.
Illinois comes to Lincoln with a 4-5 record, including a 2-4 conference mark. The Fighting Illini are coming off an impressive 55-31 victory over Minnesota on Saturday. Illinois has built its offensive attack in 2018 around a strong rushing attack. Illinois averages 249.4 rushing yards per game and rolled up 430 rushing yards in last week’s win against Minnesota.
Date/Time: November 10, 2018 at 11:00 am CDT
Location: Memorial Stadium, Lincoln, NE Capacity: 85,458
Surface: Field Turf
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Series Record: Nebraska leads the all time series 11-3-1 and has won four of five meetings with Illinois since joining the Big Ten Conference in 2011. Nebraska is a perfect 3-0 against the Illini in Lincoln.
TV: The game will be televised on BTN with Play-by-Play by Brandon Gaudin, Analyst Glen Mason and Elise Menaker on the sidelines. It can be streamed on BTN2Go
Radio: Look for your local radio station on the Huskers sports radio network. The audio can also be streamed live for free at huskers.com The crew will be: Greg Sharpe, Matt Davison, and Ben MacLaughlin.
Weather: At kickoff, it will be 26 degrees (but will feel like 13) and partly cloudy. Winds will be from the south at 17 miles per hour. Bundle up if you are heading to Memorial Stadium!
Odds: The Huskers are favored by 17.5 points.
-Saturday’s game will mark Nebraska’s annual Veterans Day/Military Salute at Memorial Stadium. In conjunction with the game, Nebraska will be recognizing the 100th anniversary of Armistice Day on Saturday and at a Sunday morning Armistice Day Display Dedication.
-Illinois and Nebraska are the nation’s first and second-most improved rushing teams in 2018. The Illini average 143.8 yards per game more than in 2017, while NU rushes for 216.6 yards per game, an improvement of 109 yards per contest over 2017.
-Stanley Morgan Jr. needs just 32 receiving yards to hit 2,500 career receiving yards. He would be the second Husker to reach that milestone. Morgan Jr. needs just 12 receiving yards to move into second place on the Nebraska career receiving yardage list.
Coach Frost on the team’s preparation for Illinois has gone this week.
”Great week. Best week again that we’ve had. Things keep getting better. Certainly not happy with how this whole season has gone, but I’m pretty happy with where things are right now.”
On quarterbacks coach Mario Verduzco, who was named a nominee for the Broyles Award on Thursday, which is given to the top assistant coach in the nation.
”Mario is one of the best in the country at coaching quarterbacks. I’ve known that a long time, I think others are just starting to figure that out. I’ve seen him do unbelievable jobs with quarterbacks we’ve had in the past and obviously to get an 18-year-old (Adrian Martinez) to play the way he’s been playing speaks volumes to what Mario’s capable of doing. Any honor that he can get is well deserved.”
As for Illinois, Frost was asked about his familiarity with the Illini’s defense scheme – specifically the style of defense the Tampa Bay Buccaneers were known for, as Frost was a safety for the Bucs and Illinois Head Coach Lovie Smith was both a defensive assistant and head coach at Tampa Bay.
”There’s still stuff I recognize. Obviously I’ve got a fond place in my heart for all those guys. Lovie wasn’t there but I got to know Herm (Edwards) in New York, Rod Marinelli, Joe Barry and Monte Kiffin and especially Mike Tomlin and Raheem (Morris) I’ve talked about those guys a lot. I loved my time there, I loved the scheme and the system. The tough thing, I took that system and helped to get a bunch of it installed when I was still coaching defense. When you’re playing in that scheme in the NFL, there weren’t a lot of quarterbacks running read zone or any of those threats so you have to tweak it a little bit, and they’ve done a good job with that, trying to adjust it to the college game. That (coaching) tree that Lovie was a huge part of means a lot to me.”
”(The system is) sound. That was the best part of that scheme when I was playing in it is you always knew where you were supposed to be, where you’re supposed to fit and there wasn’t a lot of glaring issues with it because everybody knew their assignment, knew their role and knew their run fit. When you play against a defense like that, a lot of times you just got to make plays because there aren’t a lot of things on film that are glaring issues.”
On Illini quarterback AJ Bush – a former Husker - and how going up against Adrian Martinez helps the defense prepare for such a mobile quarterback.
”Some of their schemes are similar to what we do on offense. Obviously their guy can run, he was here so you guys know him as well as I do, but they played a great game offensively last week. Put up a bunch of yards, a bunch of big plays. Sometimes it takes a while to find yourself and they have seemed to settle on what they’re going to do, and they looked really good at it last week. So hopefully a little bit of the experience against our offense helps our defense, but they’re going to pose some challenges for our defense.”