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Huskers struggle mightily in loss to Illinois

Published: Nov. 21, 2020 at 9:36 AM CST
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LINCOLN, Neb. (WOWT) - One step forward, five steps backward.

That’s how it felt after Nebraska fell to 1-3 Saturday after losing to Illinois by a final of 41-23.

The Huskers came in favored to win by two touchdowns, but the team never got things going consistently in the first half and dug themselves into a big hole.

Five total turnovers contributed to it.

The game started with Nebraska’s first play, which appeared to be an incompletion, called a fumble because the refs ruled what looked like a forward pass to have gone backward.

Illinois capitalized with a Chase Brown score to start off 7-0.

Big Red came right back with a 12-play, 71-yard drive capped off by a McCaffrey 5-yard touchdown run to tie it at 7-7, but then Illinois really took off.

Brandon Peters changes the dynamic of the Illini. He threw all over the Huskers in the first half.

He was 12/15 for 140 yards and a touchdown in the first half. He finished 18 of 25 for 205 yards and a QB rating of 154.1.

Luke McCaffrey threw two first-half picks.

The fighting Illini led 28 to 10 at halftime.

The third quarter started with a great defensive series by the Blackshirts to force a punt on 4th and 8, but the Huskers coverage team literally all turned around and ran.

It didn’t appear to be a called fake punt, but with nothing but open field in front of him, Blake Hayes took off and easily got a first down to keep Illinois on the field.

It was a play that symbolized the entire game for the Huskers.

And that’s just how the entire game went.

The Huskers found an offensive rhythm at times in the second half and would score again in the third, but it was too little, too late.

To make matters worse, linebacker and captain Collin Miller went down with 11:53 left in the fourth quarter and had to be taken off the field on a stretcher.

While Miller was down, every single player on both teams took a knee.

The Cornhuskers have a lot of problems to solve.

Nebraska has a short week with the rivalry Black Friday matchup against Iowa in Iowa City next week.

Kickoff is at noon.

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