Aug 31, 2013; Lincoln, NE, USA; Nebraska Cornhuskers running back Ameer Abdullah (8) rushes against the Wyoming Cowboys in the second half at Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Thorson-USA TODAY Sports

Illinois Football: Previewing Nebraska's Offense

At the beginning of the season, everyone was asking whether or not the Nebraska Cornhsukers would finally be able to get over the hump and win a conference title. In three of the past four seasons, the Cornhuskers have reached their conference’s title game (two in the Big 12 and one in the Big Ten), but lost in the end.

The Cornhuskers still have a chance to overcome their conference championship misfortunes, but they have a huge question mark at the quarterback position on the eve of Big Ten conference play.

Mandatory Credit: Bruce Thorson-USA TODAY Sports

Mandatory Credit: Bruce Thorson-USA TODAY Sports

According to John Ackeren of, senior quarterback Taylor Martinez is still questionable coming into this weekend’s match-up with Illinois.

Martinez did not play in the team’s win over South Dakota State due to a turf toe injury and hasn’t played since the loss to UCLA. His stats haven’t been bad this season as he’s thrown 528 yards, nine touchdowns, and only one interception. He’s also ran for 101 yards as well.

However, even his Martinez is cleared to play, will he get the start over true freshman quarterback Tommy Armstrong Jr.?

Two weeks ago, Armstrong had a nice showing in his first career start, throwing for 169 yards and a touchdown while running for 38 yards.

It’s hard to say whether or not Armstrong will start over a medically cleared Martinez, but, if he is medically cleared by Saturday, I’d put my money on Taylor Martinez taking most (if not all) of Nebraska’s snaps against the Illini.

Although, no matter who starts at QB for the Huskers this Saturday, expect wide receivers Quincy Enunwa and Kenny Bell to be quality options in the passing attack.

Enunwa leads the team in passing with 202 receiving yards and five receiving touchdowns. However, Bell isn’t far behind with 190 receiving yards with only two touchdowns.

Nebraska also has what seems to be a three-headed monster in the backfield between running backs Ameer Abdullah, Terrell Newby, and Imani Cross.

The Illini should expect Adullah to shelter most of the carries for the Huskers, but they cannot forgot about Newby and Cross. Adullah leads the team with 456 rushing yards and three rushing touchdowns. However, Newby and Cross both combine for 408 of the team’s rushing yards and seven of their rushing touchdowns.

On top of his rushing abilities, Adullah is also a quality option as a receiver as well. On just eleven receptions, he has 115 receiving yards and averages 10.5 yards per catch.

Illinois didn’t have much to worry about when it came to Miami (OH), but that will be completely different against Nebraska. Illinois just needs to stay true to the game plan and not worry about who will be their opposing quarterback.

Unless Taylor Martinez comes back and plays like he did a season ago, the Illini defense should have no problem containing this Nebraska offense.

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Tags: Ameer Abdullah Football Illinois Fighting Illini Taylor Martinez Tommy Armstrong Jr.

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