Illinois led Nebraska at multiple points Saturday night. But in the end, the Huskers got it done, winning, 42-38.

The high-scoring affair may not come as a surprise to some, but Nebraska’s offense hadn’t put together a complete game against a legitimate opponent yet this season. The Huskers against the Fighting Illini, though, racked up 671 total yards.

It was a nightmare watching Illinois trying to stop them. However, after the four-point loss, coach Lovie Smith talked about his defense:

“I feel good about the takeaways we had tonight. But I am disappointed in the night. I think we have a chance now to win. In years past I don’t think we had a chance, but we have a chance now. We are a better football team. Tonight, it didn’t turn out that way there was a lot of factors that led to that maybe just facing a really good offensive team, but we are definitely a better defensive football team.”

Sure Lovie, be happy about the four turnovers forced. You should be. And you should be disappointed in the night. After all, you lost a close game. But to say that you are “definitely a better defensive football team” seems a bit odd.

Actually it’s really odd, considering you allowed nearly 700 yards to your opposition.

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We’ll see if Illinois’ defense can show it actually improved a couple weeks from now — following a bye — on Oct. 5 at Minnesota.