Nebraska (3-4, 2-2 Big Ten) returns home to Memorial Stadium on Saturday to face No. 17 Illinois (6-1, 3-1 Big Ten).
The matchup marks the 10th consecutive season that the two programs have met. Since joining the Big Ten Conference, Nebraska holds a 6-3 edge over Illinois. The Fighting Illini, however, have won the past two meetings.
Prior to joining the Big Ten, Nebraska only faced Illinois twice from 1953 to 2013: a home-and-home series in 1985 and 1986.
Nebraska-Illinois football TV channel, time, live stream
TV Channel: ABC
Time: 2:30 p.m. CT
Date: Saturday, Oct. 29
Live stream: ESPN app (with TV provider)
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, Lincoln, Nebraska
Weather: If you’re headed to the game on Saturday, your weather experience is going to be determined by where your seat is located.
Nebraska-Illinois football picks, odds
The line: Illinois -7.5
(per the VI Consensus)
Nebraska enters the final stretch of the season following its second bye week of the season. Prior to the bye, the Huskers fell 43-37 to Purdue on Oct. 15.
Despite the loss, Nebraska’s offense performed well against the Boilermakers. The Huskers averaged 9.2 yards per play with five plays that covered at least 30 yards in the game. Wide receiver Trey Palmer also set a single-game receiving record for Nebraska with 237 yards on his seven receptions, while totaling 297 all-purpose yards.
As for Illinois, the Illini come to Lincoln following their own bye week. They currently hold a 1/2 game lead in the Big Ten West Division race.
Illinois’ defense is its star, ranking first in the nation in scoring defense (8.9 ppg) and total defense (221.0 ypg). The Illini also rank second nationally with 18 takeaways. On the offensive side of things, Illinois currently averages 200 rushing yards per game and ranks in the top 10 national in time of possession.
Nebraska interim head coach Mickey Joseph is familiar with Illinois head coach Bret Bielema, having faced him while at LSU.
“Facing him when I was at LSU was Arkansa, they were a very physical team,” Joseph said on Tuesday. “He wants to run the football but he’s physical across the board on offense and defense. He does a really good job with the defense and offensive line. He always had really good players and offensive and defensive lines. So you can see that now.
“Illinois has really good players on both sides of the ball in the trenches.”
Offensive coordinator Mark Whipple also offered thoughts on what he has seen from Illinois. Whipple stayed in Lincoln over the bye week to prepare and scheme for the Illini.
“They have bought into their plan on defense,” Whipple said. “They are going to play man free and be aggressive. You can see how they’ve gained confidence throughout. They shorten the game. Their running back is a really good player, which helps their defense. Red zone, they are very opportunistic. And they are really good on third down. They run well on the back end, and they take care of third downs and hold onto the ball. We have to be really good on third down. They can rush the passer, and they play the run well. Bret (Bielema) has done a good job. I have known him a long time.”
For more on what to expect from Illinois, check out Brady Oltmans’ preview of the matchup.
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.