It’s not only Nebraska’s Big Ten home opener but it’s also homecoming and the BTN Tailgate is coming to Lincoln. Talk about a big weekend for Husker fans. It will be made even more special by the Big Ten’s commemorative coins made in honor of Sam Foltz and Mike Sadler. It’s definitely a weekend where you don’t want to miss a thing.
What do you need to know before Saturday? We’ve got you covered in this week’s Illinois-Nebraska cheat sheet.
Where: Memorial Stadium, Lincoln, Neb.
When: Saturday, October 1, at 2:30 p.m. CT
Listen: Husker Sports Network or Sirius Channel 134, XM 196
The Nebraska Huskers are 4-0 but that doesn’t mean the team can overlook Illinois. What can the Huskers expect from the Fighting Illini? We break it down in this week’s episode of Hail Varsity’s No Huddle.
Special thanks to presenting sponsor Downtown Lincoln!
Also, don’t forget to join us Friday from 4-6:30 p.m. at The Railyard for the Hail Varsity Tailgate! Former Huskers Jack Gangwish and Blake Lawrence will be there, as well as the Big Red Alumni Band. There will be free craft beer tastings, lots of free prizes and more! See you there!
>> The first time Nebraska and Illinois met was on Oct. 24, 1892. Nebraska won 6-0.
>> Talk about big wins. The Huskers have put up at least 39 points in each of its last three meetings with the Fighting Illini in Lincoln.
>> Nebraska is 4-1 in Big Ten home openers since joining the conference in 2011. The only loss came to Wisconsin last year.
>> Riley and Illinois head coach Lovie Smith are two of six current FBS head coaches who were once NFL head coaches.
What They’re Saying
Head coach Mike Riley on Illinois:
“Illinois had a bye week to get ready. Their defensive front is the best one that we will face so far. We had trouble with their defensive end, No. 91, last year. They have two defensive ends that are good, they have defensive tackles who are good. So their front will be tough. They play a four-man front. There will be a lot of man-to-man coverage, and mix in a little bit of three deep. In passing situations they play cover-two. Offensively they are a pro style. Their quarterback is a senior and they have two good running backs. Their rush is very effective when we take it in for a field goal or extra point because of that front. They have a good varying punt returner named (Darius) Mosely.”
On being 4-0:
“It just feels like a new year. So I didn’t bring that up to our team once, but personally, it does feel like that. I suppose as you spend longer in the league, you get a sense of how you feel about those upcoming games through a history. I certainly had those thoughts for years in the Pac-12 year-to-year, but it’s really for us, more than just coach speak to stay in the moment and enjoy the preparation. We certainly have many areas to improve in that we have to focus on. We’re going to play a team that has had a week extra preparation, so we just have to be ready to play a good game, regardless of history.”
Quarterback Tommy Armstrong on how he used last year’s loss at Illinois to prepare for this year’s matchup:
“I don’t really look back on it. We have just got to put ourselves in the right situation to win the game. Last year we kind of kept those guys fighting and kept giving them chances early on. We have just got to make sure we take care of the ball and put ourselves in the right situation to win the game. We have got to take care of the ball and make sure that we do the right things this upcoming Tuesday and prepare the right way. We have to make sure that we are on the right page with everyone. Like Coach (Mike) Riley said, with a bunch of guys being knicked up, we have got to make sure that everybody is prepared.”
Linebacker Michael Rose-Ivey on embracing Nebraska’s No. 15 ranking:
“At the end of the season if you look back and say well ‘we embraced it in week four, week five but we lost the rest of our games it doesn’t matter how we embraced it now. First, we’ve just go to focus on this game.”
Must Watch: The Huskers’ video on unity.
— Nebraska Huskers (@Huskers) September 27, 2016
Must Read: Our own Mike Babcock’s tribute to the legendary Milt Tenopir. It’s one you can’t miss.
Must See: The latest cover of Hail Varsity magazine, of course.
.@Huskervball’s Briana Holman is paying her dues.
— Hail Varsity (@HailVarsity) September 26, 2016
Erin is the Deputy Editor and Digital Marketing Strategist for Hail Varsity. She has covered Nebraska athletics since 2012, which has included stops at Bleacher Report, Cox Media Group’s Land of 10, and even Hail Varsity (previously from 2012-2017). She has also been featured on the Big Ten Network, NET’s Big Red Wrap-Up, and a varsity of radio shows nationwide. When not covering the Huskers, Erin is probably at Chipotle.