The Illini received the ball on the opening kickoff as the Huskers won the toss and elected to defer.
The Illini started off with a 4 yard completion to Josh Ferguson across the middle, but that was all they got on the drive. Randy Gregory immediately made his presence felt with a 2 yard TFL on a designed QB keeper on the 2nd play from scrimmage, and then he once again forced Scheelhaase to scamper out of bounds on 3rd down to no gain. Duvernois punted into a stiff wind and the ball ended up on the Nebraska 43 after a mere 29 yards.
With 11:06 left in the 1st quarter, Ameer Abdullah capped of the Huskers first drive of 57 yards with a 2 yard TD run right over Austin Teitsma after he had just reeled off a long run on the previous play.
The Illini’s 2nd drive once again began on the 25 following a touchback. Josh Ferguson reeled off a 9 yard run on first down off the right side. Donovonn Young came in and took it inside the tackles for a 1st down. DY5 got the call again on 1st down and went for a couple up the middle. The Illini ran read option on the next play, and Young took it around the end for a big gain, but the ball came free and Nebraska recovered with 9:23 left. There was a minimal review, but the ball did appear to be jostling free just before his right hip was flush with the ground.
Nebraska immediately hit a 26 yard pass to cross midfield as the Illini got zero pressure on the QB, and the Nebraska WR was running free in the secondary. The Huskers juggernaut O continued to move the ball with relative ease minus the Cross fumble for a 3 yard loss that he recovered himself. They capitalized on the Young fumble when Armstrong Jr. hit Quincy Enunwa with 5:53 left in the 1st for a 4 yard TD pass capping off a 10 play 69 yard drive that used 3:30.
Illinois’ third possession was much more sustained, but still ended with the same result as the first 2 drives. With 2 minutes left in the first the Illini faced a huge 3rd and 7, and Scheelhaase was sacked by Ankrah for a 4 yard loss. The Illini had no choice but to go for the 4th down due to the stiff wind, and Steve Hull was smacked by Stanley Jean-Baptiste just as the ball arrived. The Illini turned the ball over on downs.
Nebraska is back on the attack with Ron Kellogg III in at QB to end the 1st.
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