Illinois vs. Nebraska: TV Info, Spread, Injury Updates, Game Time and More
After getting demolished by UCLA, Nebraska beat up on South Dakota State in Week 4 of the college football season.
Now, after a bye, the Cornhuskers look to defend their home turf against Big Ten opponent Illinois on Saturday.
In its 59-20 victory over South Dakota State, Nebraska (3-1, 0-0 Big Ten) roared back with a vengeance. The Cornhuskers posted 645 total yards against the Jackrabbits, rushing for 335 yards and five touchdowns along the way.
Illinois (3-1, 0-0 Big Ten) is coming off a 50-14 victory over the Miami RedHawks. The Fighting Illini racked up 601 total yards in the win, led by Nathan Scheelhaase's 278 yards and five touchdowns.
So, with two high-octane offenses ready to do damage, who has the edge?
*Statistics courtesy of CFBStats.com
When: Saturday, Oct. 5 at noon, ET
Where: Memorial Stadium, Lincoln, Neb.
Live Stream: WatchESPN
Betting Line (via Covers.com): Nebraska -10
Illinois Injuries (via USA Today)
Questionable: DL Vontrell Williams (Foot), DT Teko Powell (Foot), LB Henry Dickinson (Undisclosed)
Nebraska Injuries (via USA Today)
Probable: QB Taylor Martinez (Foot), WR Kenny Bell (Shoulder), WR Quincy Enunwa (Undisclosed)
Top Storyline: Will Nebraska QB Taylor Martinez Return from Injury?
While USA Today listed Taylor Martinez as "probable" on Sunday, he was reported as "questionable" by Mitch Sherman of ESPN.com on Tuesday.
Nebraska Coach Bo Pelini said of Martinez's status for facing Illinois, per Sherman's report, "It's still to be determined. I think he's getting closer to being 100 percent. He's feeling a lot better."
Martinez, who is battling turf toe, missed last week's game against South Dakota State.
While the senior is averaging a mere 6.6 yards per pass attempt this season, in the big picture, he's playing at the same level as last season, if not better. He's completed 66 percent of his passes while tossing nine touchdowns to one interception. He's also rushed for 101 yards.
It's possible that the Cornhuskers will beat the Fighting Illini with or without Martinez on Saturday, but Illinois isn't a slouch this season.
The Massey Ratings (a collection of rankings from across the country) have Illinois ranked 45th in the nation and Nebraska ranked 39th. The Fighting Illini also rank 25th in the country in points per game.
Prediction (with Martinez): Nebraska 40, Illinois 34
Prediction (without Martinez): Illinois 40, Nebraska 34
Who will win on Saturday?
Based on the current spread, I feel like Nebraska is overrated and Illinois is underrated.
Illinois loves to pass behind Scheelhaase and the Cornhuskers rank 108th in the country in passing yards allowed per attempt. Heck, Nebraska allowed South Dakota State 20 points in Lincoln.
The Fighting Illini are also poor against the pass (ranked 99th in yards allowed per attempt), but that won't mean as much if Martinez misses the game.
Nebraska's running game should do some damage against Illinois, but still, Illinois defends the run better than it defends the pass.
If Martinez starts, Nebraska wins. If Martinez doesn't start, Nebraska loses.
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