Oct 5, 2013; Lincoln, NE, USA; Nebraska Cornhuskers quarterback Tommy Armstrong Jr. runs against Illinois Fighting Illini defender Eaton Spence (27) during the first quarter at Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Thorson-USA TODAY Sports

Illinois vs. Nebraska: Illinois Trails Nebraska 23-5 at Halftime

The Huskers began the 2nd quarter by narrowly missing yet another touchdown pass, this time from Kellogg III. They cashed in with a field goal to extend the lead to 17-0 with 13:04 left in the 2nd.

Illinois finally got to return a kick, but they began the drive inside their own 10 as they were flagged for holding on the return.

It’s safe to say Josh Ferguson showed up to play at this point. He is gashing the Husker D every time he touches the ball.

Everything Illinois is running is short at this point. Checkdowns, run plays, WR Screens etc., but it seems to be working this drive. Perhaps they are trying to chew clock with short plays in order to keep the Husker Offense off the field.

Randy Gregory left the field with 10:05 to go in the 2nd, and that could be a big thing for the Illinois offense.

With Gregory off the field, the Illini offense continued to move the ball to the Husker 9 yard line setting up a 2nd and goal with 8:42 left to play in the half. The Illini chose to take a timeout, and it nearly paid off as they set up play action to LaCosse in the corner of the endzone, but he was out of bounds on the reception.

Unfortunately, the 9 yard line was all the closer Illinois would get to the endzone as the Husker D brought the entire house on 3rd down, and it cost Illinois a ton of field position.

Thankfully, the Illini finally registered some points as they capped off a 14 play, 72 yard, 5:14 drive with a Taylor Zalewski 38 yard field goal with 7:50 left in the half.

The subsequent Husker drive was once again led by Tommy Armstrong, Jr., and it was more of the same as the powerful Husker offense cut through the Illini D like a knife through butter en route to a Cross 2 yard TD run with 4:18 left in the half. The Husker kicker pushed the extra point right, and the Cornhusker lead sat at 23-3 ahead of the next Illinois possession.

Gregory returned to the field for the next Illini drive, but outside of a 15 yard penalty on Nebraska for a late hit out of bounds, the Illini offense had absolutely nothing going at all.

With 2:24 left in the half, Jonathan Brown has 11 tackles. It’s pretty safe to say he showed up today too, and suddenly the rest of the defense showed up as well, registering a safety on a 3rd down Cross carry. The Illini got the ball back with 1:44 to play in the half holding 2 timeouts. Osei had a great return back to the 46 yard line, and was hit late out of bounds, however no penalty was assessed.

The Illini offense once again threw 2 checkdowns and only managed to move the ball 4 yards ahead of a dropped 3rd down underthrown pass that would have picked up the 1st down. With :52 seconds left Duvernois punted the ball inside the 1 yard line, but Nebraska did just enough to run out the remainder of the clock.

There is still one half of action left in this one, but unless the Illinois offense makes some major adjustments at halftime the 18 point deficit they currently face might too much to overcome.

 

 

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