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Nebraska 42 Illinois 38: Recap and Reaction Thread

Nebraska notches the 900th win in program history in an ugly but hard-fought win in Champaign

NCAA Football: Nebraska at Illinois Patrick Gorski-USA TODAY Sports

Mood check

First Quarter

William Przystup is handling kickoff duties today. But it only took the Illini two plays to feed Reggie Corbin. Touchdown Illinois.

Illini 7 Nebraska 0

Mood check

The Husker offense took over at their 25 after the touchback. Martinez found JD Spielman for a big catch and run to move Nebraska deep into Illini territory.

Penalty. Dedrick Mills tackled for loss. Incomplete. Fourth and 11. Go for it. Short. Illini ball.

The Blackshirts held serve this time and forced the Illini three-and-out. Back to receive is JD Spielman. Did you know that JD’s dad is Rick Spielman, the GM of the Minnesota Vikings? Drink.

WAN’DALE ROBINSON with the catch in traffic!! And then a Husker fumble. Illini ball. This game is off to a, ummm, less-than-illustrious start for the Huskers. Maybe the game plan is to get all the shitty stuff our of the way in the first quarter?

Cam Taylor-Britt defensed a pass in the end zone. But it didn’t matter as the Illini snuck one over Dicaprio Bootle for the touchdown. The extra point was good.

Illinois 14 Nebraska 0

Mood check

Sideline shot of Scott Frost. #UnhappyCoach.

This offensive possession featured JD Spielman and a YUGE run by Maurice Washington who got Nebraska into the red zone but then went to the sideline (and then the medical tent). Inside the 10 yard line, the Huskers faced third and three. The Martinez keeper was short. Scott Frost elected to go for it on fourth and two down rather than kick the chip shot. DEDRICK MILLS CONVERTED! First and goal Nebraska.

Second and goal - no problem. JACK STOLL TOUCHDOWN!! The Lane McCallum extra point was good.

Illinois 14 Nebraska 7

The Illini made it to midfield and faced third and two. JoJo Domann put a stop to the Illinois drive with the announcers saying Nebraska should have been flagged for offsides (I was too busy updating my Twitter feed to know for sure if they were right).

The ensuing Husker possession went nowhere fast and Nebraska had to punt from deep on their end of the field. Illinois took over at their 30 yard line.

Second Quarter

Mood check

The Illini had to punt early in the second quarter. The Husker offense was pinned deep and promptly FUMBLED (Decrick Mills) inside their own 10 yard line. Illini ball first and goal.

On the next play. SIGH. Illinois touchdown.

Illini 21 Huskers 7

Mood check

The Husker offense now featured Wan’Dale Robinson in the backfield as both Mo Washington and Dedrick Mills appeared to be nicked up. Robinson tried his best, but couldn’t get the first down. Isaac Armstrong punted on fourth and one. A false start on Nebraska made it fourth and six (Dedrick Mills). The punt was downed at the 25.

Illinois quickly moved across midfield. The Huskers caught a break when Lamar Jackson wasn’t called for a hold (it was really savvy positioning by the senior). That was followed in short order by an INTERCEPTION by Cam Taylor-Bitt!! Husker ball on their 20 yard line.

I have no idea why the handcuffs are on Adrian Martinez in terms of reads and in the playcalling, but at some point Frost has to let his sophomore QB run wild.

Martinez finds JD Spielman for a BIG gain out to midfield but every running play is sniffed out by the Illini even before the ball is exchanged. Until Maurice Washington broke a long run. He limped back to the line and was asked to carry the ball again. He made it another five yards before limping to the sideline. The Martinez keeper lost yards (his rushing stat line has to look terrible right now - maybe that is the reason for handcuffs?)

OK WAN’DALE ROBINSON - JUST CATCH AND RUN FOR THE TOUCHDOWN!! His first career touchdown as a Husker.

The extra point was good.

Illinois 21 Nebraska 14

The Blackshirts nearly gave up a conversion on third and sixteen but forced the three and out, bringing up fourth and three. A terrific punt by the Illini was downed inside the 10 yard line.

This field position thingy is still a problem in this administration.

Toss play to limping RB (Washington) loses yardage. First down play to JD Spielman who was overthrown on the next play, hit hard, landed on a shoulder and didn’t get up right away.

Mo Washington carries some defenders a few yards while limping. An Adrian Martinez designed run nets the first down near the 40. Mo Washington gets the Huskers across midfield. He is playing a gutsy gutsy game. Martinez missed a wide open Washington on a screen pass and then Mo makes something out of nothing to bring up third and short.

Martinez converts the hard yards to give Nebraska another set of downs.

Dedrick Mills broke one open to get to the red zone, but a holding call on Brendan Jaimes brought it back. Martinez threw a beautiful ball to Kanawai Noa - but it was dropped. Robinson lost yardage on the next play - third and 20. Incomplete. Punt. 1:39 left in the half.

The Illini went conservative at the end of the half and didn’t try to get into field goal range. Camera shots of Scott Frost should include lasers shooting out of his eyes. Coach looks unhappy.

Halftime Illinois 21 Nebraska 14

Twitter is reporting a head injury for Maurice Washington. He is not expected to return.

  • Nebraska totaled six plays of more than 20 yards in the first half, a week after posting nine 20-plus yard plays against Northern Illinois.
  • Nebraska junior receiver JD Spielman caught four passes for 95 yards in the first half, marking his 25th straight game with at least two receptions. Spielman increased his career total to 136 career receptions, tying Terrence Nunn for sixth place on the NU career chart. He also passed Marlon Lucky (135) on the career receptions list in the first half of tonight’s game.
  • Senior cornerback Lamar Jackson had two tackles for loss in the first half, tying his career high ( 2 vs. Fresno State, 2016).

Mood check

Third Quarter

Kanawai Noa pulled in his first pass of the game (two yards) but the Huskers promptly posted a three-and-out. Reggie Corbin went to work as Lovie Smith appeared to remember that Corbin probably can handle a large workload and the Blackshirts had failed to really get in his way thus far. The Illinois used tempo to attack, made it across midfield and then to the end zone. Touchdown Illinois.

Illini 28 Nebraska 14

Nebraska starts their second possession of the half with a delay of game penalty. OH GOOD GRIEF.

Mike Williams sighting. Tempo. Ben Stille headed to the locker room. Robinson first down. High snap. Wyatt Mazour first down across midfield. Spielman catch and takes another big shot (limping). Adrian hung his receiver out to dry on that one. Jack Stoll first down inside the 15.

OK, who’s left on offense? Get out there!

Mazour runs it inside the five yard line and flags were thrown on Nebraska for a block in the back. They picked up the flags (something about being within two yards of the line of scrimmage) and on the next play WANDALE ROBINSON TOUCHDOWN!! That hole was so big he could have run for a 100.

Illinois 28 Nebraska 21

The kickoff died inside the five yard line. The Illini returner made a smart play and put his feet out of bounds and reached in to touch the ball. The penalty for a kick out of bounds gave the Illini possession on the 35. A dropped ball on third down brought out the punt unit.

JD Spielman lost yards on the return, backpedaling to the 11.

Field Position. A Work In Progress.

JD Spielman catch and (likely anticipating another big hit) FUMBLE. Dedrick Mills is down. Illini recover on the Husker 36. The Huskers might be down to playing a five tight end set pretty soon. Anyone got some plays drawn up for that? Anyone?

The Blackshirts forced two incompletions and then Khalil Davis and Carlos Davis notched a sack. The punt took a Husker bounce and Nebraska started on their 14 yard line.

The offensive line was giving Adrian Martinez all kinds of time to throw but a shitty Illini secondary was suddenly good at coverage. One Illini linebacker even dropped a gift-wrapped interception (the play was reviewed to see if it was a fumble instead - and it was.) Illini ball on the Husker 14.

Mood check

Anyone remember the ISU game of 2009? The Huskers still have time to get to that magical nine turnover mark.

Something something. Illinois touchdown. 5:40 left in the third quarter.

Illini 35 Huskers Blech

Wandale Robinson looks like he gives a damn. Good on you young man. After a couple of carries, he runs off with a hand near the, ummm, groin. Dedrick Mills trots on the field. Martinez keeps and actually looked pretty fast. Third and two near midfield. Mills picks it up the conversion on a very close play.

Third and eight - JACK STOLL WE SEE YOU!! First down Huskers at the 20.

Anyone got a count on Huskers limping or bleeding out there? I think it is all of them.


Illinois 35 Nebraska 27 (extra point was blocked - SIGH)

A nice Illinois kickoff return was brought back on a penalty and the Illini start a their 14 yard line. One handoff to Corbin was followed by this:

Lovie: We still have a Reggie Corbin?

Lovie’s staff: Yes

Lovie: Should we give the ball to a Reggie Corbin?

Lovie’s staff: Yes

Lovie: Pass it. Twice.

(I should actually thank the Illini OC, but I don’t know who he is, so Lovie’s name is used in vain above). Illinois punt. THE HUSKERS HAVE THE BALL OUTSIDE THEIR OWN 20 YARD LINE.

JD Spielman Warrior Wideout gets Nebraska past midfield. There should have been a personal foul (ok, targeting) on Illinois on that one. Wandale. Adrian. Red Zone. MOAR Wandale. Inside the 10.

Fourth Quarter

Wandale. Makes. Something. Out. Of. Nothing. First and goal.


Martinez scrambles for the conversion. TIE GAME.

Nebraska 35 Illinois 35

The Illini returned the kickoff to the 41 yard line. Eeeek.

Corbin. Corbin. First down. Midfield. Corbin. Facemask on Darrion Daniels (thank goodness Corbin bounced back up because that looked bad).

Penalty #10 on the Huskers. Drink.

JoJo Domann forced a fumbled but Illinois recovered. Third and seven. JoJo makes the tackle short of the sticks. Fourth and seven. 47 yard field goal attempt. Good.

Must be nice to have your kicker available.

Illinois 38 Nebraska 35

Swing pass to Wan’dale nets 13. Handoff to Robinson nets four. Handoff to Robinson gets four more. Third and two. Robinson limps off. Mills limps on. First down. MORE IMPORTANTLY, HE HUNG ONTO THE BALL IN TRAFFIC. Past midfield. Incomplete to Noa (lots of contact - but the Blackshirts have been getting away with some too). Mills for two. Third and eight. MARTINEZ KEEPER FOR THE FIRST DOWN.

Tempo. Wandale. The freshman is growing up fast right now. Robinson again. Third and three at the 26. MARTINEZ KEEPS AND ALMOST BREAKS IT LOOSE.

First and goal Huskers.

WANDALE TOUCHDOWN. Nebraska leads for the first time with 8:00 left in the game.

Nebraska 42 Illinois 38

Mood check

The Husker offense has run 86 plays. 86. 86. 86. They have 636 yards of offense. Normally, we would be celebrating numbers like that. Turnovers suck.

Illinois returns the kickoff to the 27 yard line. Corbin. Corbin. Third and four. Incomplete. Punt. Fair catch at the 20. 6:38 left in the game.

Wandale. Flag (defensive holding). Tired defenses that have played 87 snaps sometimes do that.

Wandale Knocks Defender Backward.

ADRIAN OFF TO THE RACES. He was upset he got caught. First and 10 at the 13. Wandale for two. Wandale for one. Third and seven. 3:26 left in the game. WANDALE FIRST DOWN AT THE ONE. (On replay, it appeared that he fumbled the ball at the one and recovered in the end zone - call stayed with first and goal).

First and goal at the one. Wandale loses yardage. Second and goal at the five. Martinez loses more yards. Third and goal at the seven. The offense doesn’t make the line to gain. Fourth down.

Lane McCallum lined up for the 22 yard field goal. False start on Nebraska. The 27 yard attempt was NO GOOD.

Nebraska 42 Illinois 38

Illinois ball on the 20. 2 minutes left in the game.

Incomplete. Lamar Jackson hits Peters hard and forces the forward fumble (initial call). JoJo Domann recovers. Peters is hurt. The replay called it an incomplete pass. Third and 10. 1:54 left in the game. The refs send Peters off the field for the injury. Flag down (Illinois hold). Declined. Fourth and 10.

Ball game...INCOMPLETE!!

The Huskers win their first road game under Scott Frost and notch the 900th win in program history. It was ugly as can be. Turnovers. Penalties. Injuries. But we watched Husker players battle their asses off for this one.

A big challenge awaits as the Buckeyes come to town next weekend.

Go Big Red.