Coming off of another moral victory, the Huskers fall to 2-7 on the season after a 36-31 loss to Ohio State. Nebraska continues to improve but a win this week against Illinois is important if they look to have any shot in making a bowl game as they have to win out and even with a 5-7 record it’s not a shoe-in scenario. Illinois is coming off of a nice win over Minnesota 55-31. They have a record of 4-5 and they also are looking to try and make a bowl game as well.
On offense, Illinois is averaging 416 yards per game and is led by a familiar name for Nebraska, quarterback AJ Bush. Bush was a former quarterback for Nebraska before transferring following the 2015 season. Bush has 924 yards passing, five touchdowns, and five interceptions. The senior also has 472 yards rushing and five touchdowns. The other weapon that Illinois will be relying on will be Reggie Corbin. Corbin has 952 yards, nine touchdowns, on just 105 carries. The junior also has 10 catches for 117 yards.
On defense, Illinois is allowing 524.8 yards per game. Del’Shawn Phillips leads the team in tackles with 74 tackles. The senior linebacker makes plays all over the field for the Illini. He also has three interceptions along with a forced fumble and a fumble recovery. Sophomore Jake Hansen also has 74 tackles from his linebacker position. He makes a number of plays behind the line of scrimmage as he has 7.5 tackles for loss.
For Nebraska, moving the ball this week shouldn’t be an issue. Another week of exciting football from freshman Adrian Martinez in which he accumulated 266 yards and one touchdown through the air and 72 yards and two touchdowns on the ground he has the potential to tear up this struggling defense. Senior running back Devine Ozigbo is 204 yards away from getting to 1,000 on the season and the Illini are allowing 240 rush yards per game. He may have the opportunity to get to that mark on Saturday.
Both Stanley Morgan and JD Spielman could have a field day against a struggling secondary. Both continue to make life easier on Martinez and could have big games. Morgan is 275 yards away from 1,000 yards on the year and Spielman is 253 yards away from that mark.
On defense, the Huskers will be facing a good offense, but considering the firepower Ohio State had, allowing 36 points bodes well for their confidence. As long as Nebraska can stop the run, a victory on Saturday is likely. The defensive line of sophomore Ben Stille, senior Mick Stoltenberg, and senior Freedom Akinmoladun will need to make plays and also open lanes for the linebackers.
The emergence of sophomore Jojo Domann at linebacker is something special for Nebraska. A former safety, Domann is showing his versatility on the field. Last week he had seven tackles and a sack for the Blackshirts. Seniors Dedrick Young and Luke Gifford will need to be steady this week against a good rushing attack. Expect to see Mohammed Barry flying all over the field once again for the Huskers. Barry is 25 tackles away from 100 on the year.
The game kicks off at 11:00 A.M. with pregame starting at 8:00 A.M. on KRVN, Nebraska’s longest running affiliate.