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Illinois057719
Nebraska14913339
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39


Illinois (3-1) at Nebraska (3-1)



The Sports Network

DATE & TIME: Saturday, October 5, 12 p.m. (et).

FACTS & STATS: Site: Memorial Stadium (87,000) -- Lincoln, Nebraska. Television: ESPNU. Home Record: Illinois 3-0, Nebraska 3-1. Away Record: Illinois 0-0, Nebraska 0-0. Neutral Record: Illinois 0-1, Nebraska 0-0. Conference Record: Illinois 0-0, Nebraska 0-0. Series Record: Nebraska leads, 7-2-1.

GAME NOTES: For the first time as Big Ten Conference opponents, the Nebraska Cornhuskers will face the Illinois Fighting Illini as the two are set to square off Saturday afternoon at Memorial Stadium.

This marks the conference opener for both teams, and it is the first true road game of the season for Illinois. The Fighting Illini are looking to snap a 14- game conference losing streak dating back to 2011, although they have already eclipsed last year's win total with a 3-1 start after non-league play. They are coming off last weekend's 50-14 rout of Miami-Ohio.

Nebraska is coming off a bye and will have had two weeks to prepare. In their last action, the Cornhuskers wrapped up the non-league portion of their schedule with a 59-20 win over South Dakota State on Sept. 21. Saturday's Homecoming contest concludes the team's five-game homestand.

Nebraska leads the all-time series, 7-2-1, although this marks the first meeting between these two schools since 1986.

The Illinois offense is averaging a robust 478.5 yards and 40.2 points per contest, and the team has scored a school-record 161 points over its first four games.

The proverbial light bulb has seemingly illuminated for fourth-year starting quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase, who is completing 67 percent of his passes while averaging nearly 300 passing yards per game. Scheelhaase leads the Big Ten in passing efficiency (174.8, 10th), passing yards per game (290.5, 17th) and total offense (298.3 ypg, 27th) through four games. Last week against Miami, he set a school record for TD passes in a quarter when he threw four in the second quarter. For comparison, he totaled four TD passes in 10 starts all of last season.

The leader of the Illini defense is senior linebacker and Butkus Award candidate Jonathan Brown, who currently leads the Big Ten and ranks sixth nationally in tackles per game (11.8). Sophomore linebacker Mason Monheim is right on his heels, ranking second in the conference with 9.5 stops per game. That duo is to the defense what Scheelhaase has been to the offense.

As a unit, however, Illinois has had its struggles defending the pass until limiting Miami to only 95 passing yards last week. Still, Illinois ranks 97th nationally with 271.5 passing yards per game allowed. The Illini have notched only one interception on the season, a total they certainly hope to increase in this matchup. Despite giving up yards between the 20s, opponents have failed to score a touchdown in seven of 16 trips inside the red zone.

Nebraska's offense put on a clinic against South Dakota State, piling up 34 first downs to go along with 335 rushing yards and 310 passing yards to mark the first time in school history the team went over 300 yards in both rushing and passing. The 645 yards of total offense is the highest total in six seasons under coach Bo Pelini, and it marked the second time this season the Cornhuskers managed to eclipse 50 points on the scoreboard.

While the gaudy numbers came against an opponent from the FCS, they also came without injured starting quarterback Taylor Martinez, who is probable for Saturday's game with a foot injury. In his place against South Dakota State, Tommy Armstrong, Jr. and Ron Kellogg III combined to complete 20-of-24 passes for 305 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions. Ameer Abdullah tacked on 139 rushing yards and a score.

The defense has been another story for Nebraska, last Saturday's blowout win not withstanding. The unit enters Saturday's contest ranked 107th in the nation in total defense (463.8 ypg) and is allowing an average of 27.0 points per game. On the ground, opponents have averaged a healthy 4.9 yards per carry. The Huskers have also allowed 284.2 passing yards per game, although they have been able to generate nine interceptions.

Stanley Jean-Baptiste is among the national leaders with four interceptions, while teammate Ciante Evans has three. In the win over South Dakota State, Nebraska tallied five sacks and a pair of interceptions. However, Jackrabbits running back Zach Zenner went off for 202 rushing yards and a pair of touchdowns on 21 carries.

This matchup has all the makings of a high-scoring shootout, as both offenses can score in bunches while both defenses have been a bit too generous at times. Give a slight edge to the Cornhuskers, who are playing at home and have won 35-of-38 league openers.

Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Nebraska 45, Illinois 35

10/02 10:34:48 ET

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Scoreboard
Local
Final
CHI 5
CAR 2
Final
SAV 49
NCCU 62
 
7:00pm Tonight
CHA
LAL
 
7:00pm Tonight
GT
UNC
 
9:00pm Tonight
CLEM
NCSU
 
Final
MIA 7
FIU 2
 
Final
DET 12
FLASO 2
 
1:05pm Today
DET
BAL
 
1:05pm Today
MIA
MIAFLA
 
1:05pm Today
PHI
NYY
 
1:05pm Today
BOS
NEASTERN
 
1:07pm Today
TOR
PIT
 
3:05pm Today
CIN
CLE
 
3:05pm Today
OAK
SFG
 
4:05pm Today
BOS
BOSTONCOLL
 
5:10pm Tonight
ARI
ASU
 
Final
PHI 103
TOR 114
Final
BRK 110
GSW 108
Final
MIA 115
PHO 98
Final
MIN 105
LAC 110
Final
DAL 102
NOP 93
7:00pm Tonight
CLE
BOS
 
7:00pm Tonight
CHA
LAL
 
7:00pm Tonight
NYK
SAC
 
7:30pm Tonight
ATL
HOU
 
8:00pm Tonight
MEM
UTA
 
8:00pm Tonight
CHI
WAS
 
9:00pm Tonight
DEN
MIL
 
Final
TEX 61
BAY 59
Final
SYR 47
UVA 59
Final
SHSU 76
CARK 49
 
Final
NWST 92
SELA 79
 
Final
NCAT 67
COOK 50
 
Final
HOW 61
NORST 59
 
Final
DELST 85
HAMP 75
 
Final
STEPH 83
INCWORD 62
 
Final
MCNST 70
LAM 69
 
Final
NO 79
NICST 89
 
Final
SAV 49
NCCU 62
 
Final
ALAAM 75
TXSOU 77
 
Final
VT 59
BC 66
Final
MVSU 66
GRAM 62
 
Final
ISU 77
OKLA 70
Final
ALAST 65
PVU 67
 
Final
ARKPB 64
JST 62
 
7:00pm Tonight
UMO
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NAVY
ARMY
 
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BST
EMICH
 
7:00pm Tonight
BUT
GEOR
 
7:00pm Tonight
IND
IOWA
 
7:00pm Tonight
FLGC
JVU
 
7:00pm Tonight
USCU
KNST
 
7:00pm Tonight
BGU
KSU
 
7:00pm Tonight
NKENTUCKY
LIP
 
7:00pm Tonight
HC
GHND
 
7:00pm Tonight
RUTG
MD
 
7:00pm Tonight
GT
UNC
 
7:00pm Tonight
BUF
OHIO
 
7:00pm Tonight
ALA
MISS
 
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DAY
RIU
 
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CMICH
TOL
 
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DET
YOUNG
 
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UNF
STET
 
8:00pm Tonight
ABCHRIST
HOUB
 
8:00pm Tonight
NDAK
NEOM
 
8:00pm Tonight
NILL
WMICH
 
8:00pm Tonight
ILLCH
WRST
 
9:00pm Tonight
MIZZ
AUB
 
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UGA
KENT
 
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NW
MICH
 
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CLEM
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UF
TEXAM
 
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KU
WVU
 
9:15pm Tonight
CREI
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NYR 4
NAS 1
Final
CHI 5
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SJS 4
MON 0
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PHI
CAL
 
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NJD
NAS
 
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CLB
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ARI
ANA
 
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EDM
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10:00pm Tonight
VAN
SJS