Nebraska vs. Illinois: Keys To Victory In Week 0

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The Nebraska Cornhuskers will travel to Champaign to face the Illinois Fighting Illini in the first game of the college football season and the only Power-
5 vs. Power-5 game of Week 0.

Illinois returns to full capacity at Memorial Stadium for the first time since the 2019 season, with College GameDay present.

Illini head coach Bret Bielema will be coaching his first game in the Big Ten since 2012 after being hired by Illinois in December 2020, while Husker head coach Scott Frost entering his fourth season at Nebraska.

While Nebraska leads the all-time series with Illinois 13-4-1, the Huskers are 6-2 against the Illini since joining the Big Ten Conference in 2011. The Huskers saw their four-game win streak in the series snapped last season as Illinois earned the victory in Lincoln.


KEY 1: Sound plan that can be adjusted

Nebraska needs to come out with a sound plan on both offense and defense. HuskerOnline reports the Huskers need to have a basic plan that will be easy to make adjustments to once they get an idea of what Illinois is going to do. 

KEY 2: Stand up vs. the run on defense 

Illinois is going to try to run the ball at Nebraska, and HuskerOnline reports the Fighting Illini will test the teeth of the defense.

Illinois returns 86% of its total starts on defense, with only LB Milo Eifler, DB Nate Hobbs, and DB/LB Delano Ware have departing among defensive players that started a game in 2020.

KEY 3: Special teams 

What will Nebraska’s improved special teams look like on Saturday? A question that has yet to be answered, while Illinois returns its entire specialists unit, led by P Blake Hayes, K James McCourt, and LS Ethan Tabel.

KEY 4: Establish skill talent 

HuskerOnline reports that Nebraska enters this game with an advantage in overall skill talent, and the Huskers have to find a way to utilize their skill talent and find explosive plays on offense. 

Illinois returns 82% of its total starts on offense, with only OL Kendrick Green, WR Josh Imatorbhebhe, and TE Daniel Imatorbhebhe departing among offensive players that started a game in 2020.

KEY 5: The details 

This has been a big topic over the off-season. The details. Turnovers, execution, penalties. These are the things that have hurt Nebraska as much as anything over the years. Can they improve in this area?

The Huskers are currently a 7 point favorite for today’s game that kicks off at 12:20 pm on FOX.

Frost is also under investigation after the NCAA announced last week a report came out the staff from the college improperly used analysts and consultants during the 2020 summer pandemic, OutKick previously reported.

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Follow Meg Turner on Twitter @Megnturner_ and Instagram @Megnturner.

Written by Megan Turner

Megan graduated from the University of Central Florida and writes and tweets about anything related to sports. She replies to comments she shouldn't reply to online and thinks the CFP Rankings are absolutely rigged. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram.


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  1. I have had this occurring thought that I might have died and gone to hell… you know with Corona, ANTIFA, Afghanistan, Biden… I been thinking: “I might be in hell. I might have died and gone to hell…”

    Then my son-in-law sends me a text today saying to quit working and come over and watch some college football… I hadn’t seen my daughter in a while, so the wife and I decide to ignore the hurricane and head over for lunch and some football.. He gave me a beer and I turned to see that the “game de jour” was Illinois vs. Nebraska…

    Yep, I’m pretty sure The Big Coach in the Sky cut me from the roster – I didn’t even make the practice squad…

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