Nebraska is now 4-0 and continues to play solid football. This week they play an Illinois team that is struggling and holds a 1-2 record.
The 15th ranked Huskers battled with Northwestern but eventually came out on top winning by a score of 24-13. For Illinois, they haven’t played since September 17th where they fell to Western Michigan 34-10.
The offense of Illinois has had its struggles so far this season. To begin the year, they put up 52 points against Murray State, then 23 against North Carolina, and just 10 against Western Michigan. Consistency has been a problem for them.
Running the show for them on offense is quarterback Wes Lunt. The senior has had a nice season so far accumulating 665 yards, six scores, and throwing only one interception. He is a very good player, just lacking some weapons to help him out. He could cause the Nebraska defense problems with his ability to throw the ball.
At running back is Ke’Shawn Vaughn. He is a sophomore and so far this season has 187 yards and two scores. Vaughn averages 4.7 yards per carry and has the ability to make the occasional big play.
Junior Malik Turner will be the go-to receiver for Lundt. So far he has 15 catches for 223 yards and three scores. He has a big 6-3 frame, plan on seeing Josh Kalu of the Huskers on him, as Kalu has very long arms and good hands.
The offensive line for Illinois has had its problems as they have already given up eight sacks so far this season. The Blackshirts for NU should be able to get in the backfield and make plays against this weak offensive front.
Illinois has been allowing 28.8 points per game, and against an offense like Nebraska’s, that will be an issue. One player to watch for Illinois will be senior Dawaune Smoot. Smoot plays as a defensive end, and last week had a really good game recording eight tackles. He will be key for Illinois in stopping the rushing attack of NU.
In the backend of the defense senior safety Taylor Barton will be a key contributor. Barton has 14 tackles and one interception so far this season.
Last week the Huskers recorded 556 yards of total offense, and that only translated to 24 points. Mainly because of two key turnovers near the end zone. The pleasant surprise was that none of the turnovers were by Tommy Armstrong. Armstrong played a near perfect game. Armstrong had 246 yards in the air and a score, and 132 yards on the ground. He will need to continue the high level of play going forward for NU going forward. Look for Armstrong to have another big game this week with the Illinois defense being weak.
The rushing attack looks to be a committee effort as Terrell Newby had 69 yards, Devine Ozigbo with 41 yards, Armstrong with 132 yards, and Mikale Wilbon with 55 yards which was a nice surprise.
For the receivers, They continue to impose their will on defenses as seven different receivers had a catch against Northwestern. The receivers will be short-handed missing Alonzo Moore with a shoulder injury, but this group has a next man up mentality.
Look for Jordan Westerkamp to be an x-factor on Saturday. He has been slow at it this season, but what better way to get rolling then against your home state.
The offensive line play for NU has been solid. They have done a great job of keeping Armstrong upright, and the ground has been effective. The pipeline is a big part in why the Husker offense is averaging 242 rushing yards per game.
The Blackshirts have been very productive this season. The bend don’t break defense has done its job in stopping the run and the pass in crucial points of the game.
The turnovers the secondary caused last week were much needed. The secondary each week continues to improve in both the run and the pass game. Josh Kalu, Chris Jones, Aaron Williams, Nate Gerry, and Kieron Williams will be key in this game Illinois will throw the ball a lot in this game.
The front four will be pivotal against Illinois, needing to force pressure and quick throws.
The linebacker play continues to be a strong point. Sophomore Dedrick Young II had seven tackles and continues to be Mr. Consistent. The nickel package Nebraska runs will be key against Illinois on both running and passing downs.
Nebraska knows not to over look any team as last season it came with losses to teams that they should have beat. Illinois was one of them as the Huskers fell 14-13. Look for the Huskers to win big on homecoming with the score being 38-10.