3 takeaways from Nebraska's road win over Illinois
Nebraska defeated Illinois 20-7 on Friday night to move to 3-3 on the season.
The Huskers’ defense produced a pair of turnover-on-downs and 2 takeaways in the win, which helped limit Illinois to just 7 points on the night.
Heinrich Haarberg was effective in this game, mostly as a runner. He threw for 154 yards on 24 attempts and added a team-high 82 rushing yards on the ground. He also scored a touchdown with his legs in this game.
Here are 3 takeaways from Nebraska’s win:
This game was largely won based on massive swings in momentum that Nebraska was able to take advantage of.
On the first drive of the game, Nebraska’s defense came up with a goal line stand to keep the Illini off the scoreboard. The Huskers were able to turn that into effectively a 10-point swing with an 86-yard field goal drive on their ensuing possession.
In the 2nd quarter, Nebraska scored 2 touchdowns in the span of just 10 seconds thanks to an Illinois turnover on the kickoff. Those points were enough for the Huskers to earn the win in the end.
Nebraska also blocked a punt and picked off Luke Altmyer late in the game to help secure the win.
Limping to the finish
Nebraska had many chances to put this game away before it eventually did.
The Huskers’ offense turned it over on 3 consecutive possessions in the 2nd half, including twice in the red zone. A fumble with 4:02 remaining on the Illinois 15-yard line extended the game and gave the Illini another chance.
Nebraska also missed a 36-yard field goal in this game, meaning it went just 3-for-6 in red zone opportunities against the Illini. Nebraska was already ranked last in the Big Ten in red zone conversion rate (9-for-12) entering Friday night’s game.
Nebraska winning as a road underdog on Friday night should give a significant boost to its postseason chances.
The Huskers are now 3-3 on the season and are halfway to bowl eligibility. Nebraska has not played in a bowl game since the 2016 season. Its best mark since then was a 5-7 season in 2019 during Scott Frost’s 2nd year at the helm.
Entering the Illinois game, Nebraska had just a 20.2% chance to get to 6 wins during the regular season. The Huskers will now enter their bye week before facing Northwestern on Oct. 21.