Illini Football Team Can’t Close The Deal In Lincoln
The Illini football team took a 16-10 lead into the fourth quarter Saturday in Lincoln, Nebraska. But a pair of defensive misfires allowed the host Cornhuskers to seize momentum and add three touchdown drives en route to a 31-16 win.
Coach Lovie Smith said the game changed when defensive lineman Chunky Clements horse-collared Nebraska's quarterback Tommy Armstrong Jr. on what seemed to be a busted play, and the end of a Husker drive.
“They were critical, especially the first one”, said Smith of the penalties Illinois racked up during the game. “Third and long on their part. And you know, Chunky’s playing hard. Horse-collars happen. But it’s a penalty. It kept the drive going. (We) would have been off the field.
On offense, the Illini coaching staff tweaked line-ups, using quarterback Chayce Crouch for spot duty, and running back Reggie Corbin in place of Ke'Shawn Vaughn. Corbin tallied career highs in carries (9), rushing yards (72) and all-purpose yards (101).
Patrick Nelson and Tre Watson both made their first career starts on defense. Nelson accounted for 16 tackles, 10 more than his previous career high and the most by an Illini this season.
Chase McLaughlin connected on field goal kicks of 43, 33 and 24 yards. He's now 5-for-5 on field goals this season.
The Illini return to action at 2:30 PM this Saturday in Champaign against the Purdue Boilermakers.