Nebraska hits the road to open conference play Saturday night against Illinois. The Huskers enter the matchup with a 2-1 record following nonconference action. Illinois also has a 2-1 record, following a 34-31 loss to Eastern Michigan last Saturday in Champaign.
Nebraska leads the series between the two programs, 12-3-1. However, the Huskers have something bigger to overcome. Nebraska is currently 0-6 in road games under Coach Scott Frost and on an overall eight-game road losing streak. With that said, the Huskers are 5-1 against Illinois since joining the Big Ten in 2011. The only loss came in 2015, 14-13.
Nebraska-Illinois football TV channel, time, live stream
TV channel: BTN (Kevin Kugler, Matt Millen, Rick Pizzo)
Time: 7 p.m. CT
Date: Saturday, September 21
Live stream: Fox Sports Go
Radio: Nebraska fans can listen to the game on IMG Husker Sports Network, as well as on Sirius Channel 83 and XM 83. Internet radio will be available at Huskers.com.
Location: Memorial Stadium, Champaign, Illinois
Weather: Rain showers early with overcast skies later in the day. High 79 degrees. Winds SSW at 15 to 25 mph. Chance of rain 40%.
Nebraska-Illinois football picks, odds
The line: Nebraska -13
(per the VI Consensus)
Nebraska’s offense is on the upswing and it’s coming at the right time with conference play kicking off on Saturday. The Huskers had 525 yards of total offense and only one turnover against Northern Illinois, something they’ll want to replicate against Illinois in primetime.
One of the primary concerns in making that happen? The status of left tackle Brenden Jaimes. Frost didn’t offer any direct feedback on Jaimes during his post-practice comments on Thursday, but the junior did go through practice throughout the week. He was injured against Northern Illinois and had to be helped off the field.
The issue is Illinois junior defensive end Oluwole Betiku. He currently leads the nation with six sacks so far in 2019. He could create some issues for Nebraska’s offensive line, quarterback Adrian Martinez and how comfortable the Huskers are overall. With that said, the Huskers are confident Broc Bando will be ready to play if need be. That is if Jaimes really isn’t ready to go, which we won’t know until game time.
But as noted, Nebraska’s offense is improving. Dedrick Mills helped get the ground game moving in a bigger way against NIU, and that was a good sign of what’s to come. And for what it’s worth, Nebraska rushed for 316 yards against Illinois in 2018.
As for Illinois, the Illini’s running game isn’t fully there yet. Reggie Corbin is good, but Nebraska’s defense will likely put the focus on keeping him from going anywhere. And then there’s quarterback Brandon Peters who has nine touchdown passes and two interceptions through Illinois’ first three games. The Huksers have forced nine turnovers so far this season. That could make for an interesting matchup.
Whatever the case, Nebraska needs the win on Saturday. That road game losing streak needs to end one of these days after all. Will it be against the Illini?