Nebraska Preview: Cornhuskers at Illinois
If the Nebraska Cornhuskers are going to ever recapture their glory days among the elite programs in college football, they're going to have to find a way to play better on the road.
The last away victory for the Huskers came nearly two years ago - in October 2017 at Purdue.
Nebraska takes an eight-game road skid to Champaign this weekend as they kick off Big Ten Conference play at Illinois.
The Illini (2-1) are led on offense by an impressive running attack with Reggie Corbin and Dre Brown each averaging better than five yards per carry. They combined for better than 100 yards against the Husker defense last year.
The new Illinois quarterback is Michigan transfer Brandon Peters, who has hit on 63 per percent of his throws in three games.
The defense is strong up front, especially against the run. The Illini are 20th in the nation, allowing less than 80 yards rushing per game. They also rank second in FBS with 33 tackles for loss.
Oluwole Betiku Jr. will keep the Nebraska offensive line busy. He's recorded half of the Illini's sacks (6) all by himself this season.
I talked with the 'Voice of the Huskers', Greg Sharpe, about the match-up in Champaign, which marks the fourth time in seven years Nebraska has opened league play with the Illini:
Kickoff in Champaign is 7:00 PM, Saturday. You can listen to the game live on ESPN 99.1.
With a victory, Nebraska would capture win number 900 in school history, joining just a handful of schools to reach that plateau.
Last weekend's 44-8 win over Northern Illinois in Lincoln will be best remembered for the combined five blocked kicks from the two teams.
The Huskers offense had its best game of the season so far, racking up a total of 525 yards, 238 of it on the ground.
Georgia Tech transfer Dedrick Mills had a breakout game with 116 yards and a touchdown on 11 carries. Maurice Washington also had a rushing and receiving score.
Defensively, the Huskers limited the Huskies to just 74 yards on the ground. They also got an interception from Braxton Clark, a fumble recovery from Austin Allen, and a fourth-quarter goal-line stand.
It was an all-around team win for the Huskers and Greg says it all started with that passing attack early against Northern Illinois:
Given the positives on both sides of the ball coming out of the win, Greg says Nebraska has established the kind of momentum they need as they head into the Big Ten portion of the schedule with a huge challenge awaiting next week: