It’s been a difficult past few weeks at Nebraska after the school lost to Northern Illinois. Naturally, the cure for all those issues was to come back and thump Illinois on the road on Friday night and capture a nice Big Ten victory in the process.
The Cornhuskers led throughout and were rarely threatened in a must-win game for Mike Riley’s squad, eventually leaving town with a 28-6 victory over the Illini that probably wasn’t even as close as that score would indicate on the field.
NU quarterback Tanner Lee produced his best performance in a Huskers uniform, throwing for 246 yards and three touchdowns. Most importantly, he failed to throw a pass to the other team with a rare no-interception outing in the passing game after throwing nine picks on the year coming in.
Devine Ozigbo produced the biggest highlight for the Big Red rushing attack with a touchdown run around the edge early in the game. He later finished with 106 yards on the ground and may have solidified his status atop the depth chart heading into next week.
As for the Illini, they showed why they’re better left to getting lost in the shuffle on Saturday’s instead of getting the spotlight put on them in a rare national TV gig on Friday. Junior Chayce Crouch was just 9/15 for 99 yards and an interception at quarterback as the team struggled to sustain much of anything offensively after an early field goal drive. Perhaps most disappointing for Lovie Smith’s team was the defensive effort though, as missed tackles were a common sight despite the university honoring Hall of Famer Dick Butkus on the field during the game. The team is playing a huge number of freshmen this season and that was certainly evident at times in this one.
The flip side of the comfortable margin on the other sideline was probably just what the doctor order in Lincoln however. After such a difficult few weeks and lots of chatter around the football team, the team is right back on track and 2-0 in conference play with a key extra day of rest heading into next week.