Nebraska opens its 132nd season on Saturday against Illinois on the road. The Huskers are set to face the Fighting Illini in Champaign, a game that was originally scheduled to take place in Ireland. The Week 0 matchup was moved to Illinois due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The 2021 season marks coach Scott Frost’s fourth at Nebraska, while Saturday’s season opener marks the head coaching debut for Bret Bielema at Illinois. The Huskers held a four-game winning streak over the Illini until 2020, when Illinois defeated the Huskers in Lincoln. With that said, Nebraska has won the last two meetings between against Illinois in Champaign.
Nebraska-Illinois football TV channel, time, live stream
TV Channel: FOX
Time: 12:20 p.m. CT
Date: Saturday, August 27
Live stream: Fox Sports app with cable or dish log in
Radio: Nebraska fans can listen to the game on the new Huskers Radio Network. Internet radio, as well as a Spanish broadcast, will be available at Huskers.com.
Location: Memorial Stadium, Champaign, Illinois
Weather: The first game of the year is usually a hot one and this year is no different. The average high for the end of August in Champaign, Illinois, is 83 degrees and Saturday will be well above that.
Full forecast and updates brought to you by Rusty Dawkins of Husker Weather. More here.
Nebraska-Illinois football picks, odds
The line: Nebraska -7
(per the VI Consensus)
Nebraska doesn’t exactly know what it’s going to get from Illinois on Saturday. The Huskers have said as much leading up to the Week 0 matchup in Champaign.
“There is some challenges to playing a team that has a new staff,” Frost said earlier in the week. “We did not play very well against them last year. We made some mistakes. We need to play better this year. I think the guys are locked in on that.”
Illinois defeated Nebraska 41-23 in 2020, which the Huskers hope to correct in 2021. Frost kept things short and sweet throughout the week, while Bielema closed off practices throughout fall camp in hopes of keeping the Huskers from knowing what schemes the Illini will run. Neither Nebraska nor Illinois have publicly released a depth chart, only adding to the intrigue.
“One of my big mantras is 1-0, to just take care of every game one day at a time and then you work your way to the next opportunity,” Bielema said. “I think our players have bought into that. They obviously have been focused on Nebraska since clear back to December and January. Even going through the spring and going through early fall camp, I was very clear to them that before we can learn how to beat Nebraska, we have to play Illinois football and what that means.
“Our results of Saturday are going to be hopefully a direct reflection of how Illinois football plays Illinois football.”
Nebraska does have some good history on its side against Illinois in Champaign, as well as in season openers. Aside from winning the last two meetings over Illinois in Champaign, the Huskers also have an impressive history in season openers. Nebraska has won 98 of its 131 season openers.
What else do you need to know? Here’s a look at what the Huskers said leading up to the matchup with Illinois:
For more on the matchup, don’t miss the latest I-80 Preview Podcast.