Welcome to the TCR GameThread! The Fighting Illini welcome the Nebraska Cornhuskers to Champaign tonight, and Steve Bourbon will be covering the action for us. Make sure to refresh this page throughout the game for updates and analysis on the Orange and Blue.
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We'll have a recap up shortly after the game concludes; all post-game discussion should take place there.
15:00 - Illinois will receive the opening kickoff.
12:05 - Illinois with a solid drive to start the game but it stalls out just on the Nebraska side of the field. Blake Hayes will punt.
8:57 - Bad news for the Illini as Nebraska gets on the board, coupled with the fact that freshman safety Bennett Williams has been ejected for targeting.
Nebraska 7, Illinois 0
0:33 - Nice, long drive by Illinois to respond after the Cornhuskers' score, aided by a long pass interference penalty on third down. Illinois has given a healthy dose of Chayce Crouch running the ball, as the junior already has eight carries for 36 yards.
Illinois has run 19 offensive plays, and thrown the football twice. #Illini— Ian Gold (@iansgold) September 30, 2017
End of 1st quarter: Nebraska 7, Illinois 0
14:57 - Chase McLaughlin bangs home a 25-yard field goal to get Illinois on the board.
Nebraska 7, Illinois 3
#illini offense— Jeremy Werner (@JWernerScout) September 30, 2017
2 passes, 17 yards
17 rushes, 65 yards
10:38 - Well that was easy. Nebraska uses a blended mix of run and short passes to march down the field and score a touchdown in eight plays, spanning 75 yards. The Illini defense had no answers on that drive.
Nebraska 14, Illinois 3
ILL: Crouch 1-2, 18 yds; Crouch 8 car., 36 yds; C. Green 1 cat., 15 yds
NEB: Lee 7-9 109 yds, TD; Ozigbo 2 car., 22 yds, TD; Pierson-El 2 cat., 60 yds, TD
6:25 - The limitations of Chayce Crouch described in one play: Illinois faces 2nd and 8 from the Nebraska 33-yard line. Crouch overthrows an open Ricky Smalling and hands off to Kendrick Foster for a loss of five. The Illini punt. I wouldn't be surprised to see Jeff George Jr. soon for a change of pace.
"How's it going so far?" Well... pic.twitter.com/d9q9OPyKPe— The Champaign Room (@Champaign_Room) September 30, 2017
1:23 - Another dominant drive for the Cornhuskers. The highlights: A quick curl to Pierson-El turned into a big gainer after Jaylen Dunlap missed a tackle, and Lee has been surgical. 11-13 for 167 yards and two touchdowns.
Nebraska 21, Illinois 3
That very familiar Illinois Football feeling pic.twitter.com/Q5yXoZ7OEg— IllinoisLoyalty (@IllinoisLoyalty) September 30, 2017
1:19 - That's two fumbled kickoffs for Kendrick Foster. Illinois is lucky to have recovered both but it's an issue worth looking at at halftime.
"How about now?" Still not better... pic.twitter.com/ePX6hoz3Br— The Champaign Room (@Champaign_Room) September 30, 2017
0:05 - Crouch turns a sack into a first down with a heroic effort on a scramble but is sacked on the next play. On the ensuing hail mary, Crouch fires it 10 yards short of the end zone and is intercepted.
Halftime: Nebraska 21, Illinois 3
A reminder that Illinois is starting 11 true freshman and nothing much could have been expected this season.— The Champaign Room (@Champaign_Room) September 30, 2017
13:24 - Nice start to the second half for the Illinois defense, forcing a three and out headlined by a strip sack from senior James Crawford.
10:02 - Illinois is on the move inside of the Nebraska 30-yard line, although play stops for injured Illinois player Louis Dorsey. (Crouch is still in the game for those wondering).
7:49 - Illinois settles for another 25-yard field goal from McLauglin after stalling out near the goal line. Offensive coordinator Garrick McGee dialed up a trick play using former-quarterback-current-receiver Trenard Davis to complete a third-down pass.
Nebraska 21, Illinois 6
5:01 - Illinois gets another stop via a recovered fumble but the offense can't do anything with it, punting the ball away. Crouch is 8/13 for 80 yards and an interception.
End of 3rd Quarter: Nebraska 21, Illinois 6
13:34 - Nebraska converts a 4th-and-1 in Illinois territory to start the quarter and Lee's third touchdown of the night comes via a catch and run from Morgan Jr. to almost certainly put this game out of reach.
Nebraska 28, Illinois 6
A 22 point deficit might take 2-3 weeks for this offense to overcome.— The Champaign Room (@Champaign_Room) September 30, 2017
12:20 - Illinois punts the ball away after an uninspiring drive. This offense's forte is running the ball and when forced to pass is completely ineffective.
9:18 - The Illini defense gets a stop and Illinois has the ball inside its own 20-yard line behind by three scores.