The Huskers led off the quarter with the ball, and the 75 yard drive culminated with a 43 yard Ameer Abdullah TD run as multiple tackles were missed on the play. Going back and watching the play again, Jonathan Brown actually recognized the formation and was jumping up and down trying to will the rest of the defense into position, but poor tackling did them in on the play.
The Huskers lead 30-5 with 12:58 to play in the 3rd quarter.
The Illini finally came alive on offense on their first drive of the 3rd quarter, converting a 4th down deep in Nebraska territory which ended up sustaining the drive long enough for Donovonn Young to plunge into the endzone with 5:54 left for the first Illini touchdown of the day.
The Illini have cut the Cornhusker lead to 30-12.
Going back and forth isn’t going to cut it at this point in the game. The Illini defense has got to step up and either get a stop or turnover on this next possession.
For some reason, Bo Pelini once again returned to Kellogg III for the next Husker drive, and the Illini finally got the stop on defense that they needed as Nebraska went 3 and out for the first time today.
The Illini got the ball back with 4:37 to play in the 3rd quarter, and they desperately needed a drive that cut into the sizable Cornhusker lead.
The Illini offense moved the ball near midfield, but on 3rd down Ciante Evans blitzed, jumped, tipped the ball, and the pass was picked off by Jason Ankrah giving the Husker offense the ball on the Illini 40.
Tommy Armstrong, Jr. returned and promptly fired a 37 yard TD pass on 3rd down to Kenny Bell who made a stupendous one handed catch that is sure to end up on SportsCenter’s Top 10 plays today. The Nebraska kicker once again missed the extra point and the Husker lead is 36-12 with 2:44 to play in the quarter.
On Illinois’ next possession, they moved the ball down to the Nebraska 31 yard line, but faced a 4th and 4 with :53 seconds to play. The Husker D once again forced the turnover on downs as they brought the house yet again. Instead of making the adjustment to a quick route, the Illini ran their normal routes and the pass fell just short of a diving attempt.
The clock ran out as Nebraska was driving into Illinois territory, and the Huskers finished the quarter leading 36-12.