Report Card: Cornhuskers 28, Illini 6

Report Card: Cornhuskers 28, Illini 6

Player of the Game

Nebraska quarterback Tanner Lee

He has been getting hammered back at home because of nine interceptions in the first four games. No such trouble on Friday night. After Nebraska's fourth touchdown early in the fourth quarter, Lee's third score, he had 247 yards. Husker fans might regret that they booed him during the Rutgers game.

Offense

Illinois D, Nebraska B+

Garrick McGee's guys had some chances, but were hurt by their own mistakes. If the team had put together a drive or two early in the game, the outcome might have been different. Credit Lee and his receivers for not getting down after a rough start this season. Lee showed the ability the coaches thought he had. The bad news: he won't get to play the Illini defense again until 2018.

Defense

Illinois D, Nebraska C

Early sign of trouble when Bennett Williams got called for targeting, helping Nebraska score its first touchdown. Illini have to do a better job of getting off the field on third down. The Huskers don't have as many playmakers as back in the old days. But they competed despite heavy injury losses and kept the Illini from ever getting in a groove.

Special teams

Illinois B-, Nebraska C-

Blake Hayes continues to shine as the Illini punter. Might be worth it for the coaches to take another long flight to see if there are any more like him in Australia. Illini hit both field goal tries. Shaky kickoff returns could have been a disaster. Nebraska special teams, considered a strength, didn't provide much help.

Coaching

Illinois F Nebraska B

The Illini had an extra week to prepare, while Nebraska just played on Saturday. What did the team do with the bonus time? Hard to tell based on Friday's performance. We would say back to the drawing board, but it's hard to know what that means. Maybe this is what happens when you play a lot of freshmen. Mike Riley could not afford to lose the game if he wants to keep his job. Friday put him back in the good graces of a demanding fan base. For now.

Overall

Illinois D, Nebraska B

All the positive vibes from the 2-0 start are gone. The Illini are struggling in all phases of the game. And now, they have to go play at angry Iowa. Vikes. Nebraska isn't going to win the Big Ten West, but at least the team can think about a potential bowl game.

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MasterOfTheObvious wrote on September 30, 2017 at 6:09 am

Can the Illini even beat Rutgers?