Coming off its first bye week of the season, Illinois looked significantly better than it had in its past two games, but ultimately ran out of steam in the fourth quarter, losing 31-16 to Nebraska in Lincoln. Illinois led 16-10 entering the fourth quarter, but the Illini totaled just 17 yards in the fourth quarter on 10 plays, while Nebraska relentlessly pounded the ball on the ground to finish out the game.
Here are three things we learned from Saturday’s game.
This game came down to one drive
On a drive that can only be described as ‘death by 1,000 cuts’ Nebraska took the lead by holding the ball for more than 10 minutes on an 18-play drive. What made it even more frustrating was the fact that Illinois had the drive stopped on two separate occasions: Chunky Clements sacked Tommy Armstrong on 3rd-and-18 but pulled him down from behind for a horsecollar penalty, then Darius Mosely was whistled for pass interference while breaking up a pass on fourth down. Nebraska converted another fourth down inside the Illinois 5-yard line, and the play stood upon further review, thanks to a potentially favorable spot from the officials. From there, Illinois went 3-and-out, and Nebraska took another 11 plays for a backbreaking touchdown.