Cornhuskers Trample Illini Football 28-6
Lovie Smith made no excuses after Nebraska embarrassed his second Illini football team 28-6 on its own field. He said everyone on the team is subject to scrutiny, and that includes himself.
"Right now, everybody that's playing, that we put out there, we're just not getting the job done," Smith said after the game. "And it's not one position. As a team, I'm looking at myself, and we have to change some things, it's as simple as that."
Tanner Lee connected on 17-of-24 passing attempts for 246 yards and three touchdowns for the Cornhuskers. The Illini passing game was decidedly less successful. Chayce Crouch took all the snaps for Illinois, but managed only 99 yards through the air. Trenard Davis threw one completion for a seven yard gain.
Devine Ozigbo ran for 106 yards, more than doubling the leading Illini rusher Mike Epstein, who garnered 42 yards on 10 attempts.
Chase McLaughlin connected on a pair of 25-yard field goals for Illinois' only scoring, despite a number of favorable short-field opportunities.
Nebraska beat Illinois in every statistical category except fumbles and punting, which was not expected. The Cornhuskers have struggled this year. So much so that their athletic director, Shawn Eichorst, was fired last week, reportedly for offering a vote of confidence to embattled coach Mike Riley, whom he hired. Nebraska's home loss to the Mid-American conference's Northern Illinois Huskies triggered that series of events.
For the Illini, Friday's loss left a bad taste, especially after hearing Nebraska fans chanting "Go Big Red" as the game clock ran down. Lovie Smith said it's expected that home fans would leave when their team is playing poorly and getting beaten. He was unfazed by the chant.
Chayce Crouch took the chant personally.
"Any fan should feel the same way," Crouch said. "When an opposing team comes in on your home field and disrespects you like that, that should leave a mark, and that should make you feel really bad, so we'll look forward to the next opportunity with them."
The Cornhuskers are now 3-2 overall, having beaten Rutgers and Illinois in conference play. Illinois is 2-2, and 0-1 in the Big Ten. The Illini travel to Iowa next weekend.