Zain Bando, IlliniGuys Contributor
October 29, 2022
In the biggest regular season game in over a decade, Illinois (6-1, 3-1 B1G) traveled to Lincoln, Neb. for a pivotal tilt with a Cornhuskers (3-4, 2-2 B1G) team still in the thick of the Big Ten West title race.
After a fast start from the Illini, which included a 46-yard touchdown from Isaiah Williams, the game started to take a weird turn. Illinois held Nebraska to a field goal before a few three-and-out drives plagued the Illinois offensive attack. Nebraska then capitalized on good field position with a 56-yard touchdown pass from Casey Thompson to Travis Vokolek to give the ‘Huskers a 9-6 lead.
The stingy Illinois defense wouldn’t go away quietly, however. Two interceptions from the Orange and Blue, the second by Sydney Brown, turned the game back in the Illini’s favor. Chase Brown would then capitalize with a 1-yard scamper to extend the lead before halftime. Illinois went into the locker room leading 20-9, as Tommy DeVito was near-flawless with only one first-half incompletion on the afternoon to that point.
The second half saw less scoring action, but Brown was able to secure his ninth consecutive 100+ yard performance, finishing the day with 149 yards on 32 carries. DeVito capped off a huge day as well, finishing 20-for-22 with 179 yards and two scores.
Head coach Bret Bielema was pleased with the way his team performed in a tough environment.
"You gotta buckle up buttercup, it's a tough game (at Nebraska)...I think this group continues to show up and go to work,” he said post-game. Bielema looks forward to seeing how the team progresses moving forward.
“It's sustained success, that's what we're clawing at...it's really excited to think about where we can go."
The Illini improved to 7-1 (4-1 B1G), as they defeated the Cornhuskers 26-9 behind a plethora of forced turnovers and overcoming an early deficit. Nebraska dropped to 3-5 (2-3 B1G) to the frustration of the Nebraska faithful.
The Orange and Blue will shift to Dad’s Weekend and Michigan State next Saturday. Kickoff is to be determined.
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