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    Nebraska vs. Illinois – Game Recap – August 28, 2021 – ESPN

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    champagne, sick. — Under a new coach, with fans packed into the stands for the first time since 2019 and their backup quarterback in the lead, Illinois beat Nebraska 30-22 on Saturday to kick off the 2021 college football season.

    victory in the big ten conference came at a price for illini.

    Reading: College football nebraska vs illinois

    Illinois starting quarterback Brandon Peters left the game clutching his left (non-throwing) shoulder after being sacked hard near the end of the first quarter. he was 3-of-4 for 35 yards. He did not return and was replaced by Artur Sitkowski, a Rutgers transfer sophomore.

    Peters’ status was unclear after Saturday’s game.

    “no injury updates yet,” said illinois freshman coach bret bielema. “But as you can see, it was brandon’s non-throwing arm, so there it is.”

    sitkowski designed several long scoring drives using a balanced attack under the new bielema system, which worked flawlessly during a successful tenure in wisconsin.

    sitkowski completed 12 of 15 passes for 124 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions.

    ‘I have something’

    “I can’t say enough about the art,” Bielema said of his backup quarterback. “You know, from day one he just projected a serious and very direct personality. he walks like a quarterback and talks like a quarterback. when I see our players rallying around a quarterback like that, well, you know you’ve got something.”

    multifaceted attack

    Illini’s running game was led by Mike Epstein, who rushed for 75 yards on 16 carries, including a 45-yard run in the first quarter.

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    huskers quarterback adrián martinez was impressive, racking up 232 passing yards on 16 completions. he had a passing touchdown and a rushing touchdown. Martinez was Nebraska’s leading rusher, with 111 yards on 17 carries and a touchdown.

    gabe ervin jr. he carried the ball 12 times for 19 yards and markese stepp had three carries for 10 yards and a touchdown for the huskers.

    illinois scored on a defensive gem late in the first half when keith randolph jr. He fired Martinez and fumbled the ball near midfield. Calvin Hart Jr. he picked it up and rushed 41 yards for an illini touchdown with less than a minute left in the half.

    hart jr. he was injured late in the game and was helped off the field with what appeared to be an injury to his left leg.

    illinois led 16-9 at halftime and took a 23-9 lead midway through the third quarter on sitkowski’s 2-yard touchdown pass to tight end luke ford.

    ice cold seat

    nebraska coach scott frost was being crucified on social media by angry huskers fans before the end of the first quarter. Frost is entering his fourth year with the program currently under investigation by the NCAA. the university announced Aug. On January 18, the NCAA is investigating the football program amid accusations that Cornhuskers staff misused analysts and consultants with knowledge of Frost and even moved workouts off campus last year when such activities were prohibited during the pandemic.

    Frost is now a dismal 12-21 during his Nebraska tenure.

    “It’s like the same old movie,” Frost said after the game. “But we will improve a lot. In my heart, I think we can have a special season.”

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    your job probably depends on it.

    Australian boom

    illinois punter blake hayes would clearly have been the man of the game if anyone in the stands had voted. it is possible that he also got votes from both coaching staffs.

    The Aussie punt averaged 45.3 yards per punt, covering Nebraska deep multiple times, including one that led to an illini safety to start the game.

    “Blake, I mean wow,” Bielema said. “Incredible. The mere presence of him changes the rules of the game.”

    the food to take away

    The early changes bielema has brought to the illinois program paid off in a key conference win. Despite losing their starting quarterback, the offense was fluid all afternoon and the defense hung on when it needed to. This was a win in more ways than just the score for Bielema and his coaching staff.

    Martinez played exceptionally well and provided nearly all of the Huskers’ bright spots on offense. with frost already on the bench, Saturday could prove to be an expensive loss.

    next

    nebraska hosts fordham on saturday; illinois hosts utsa on saturday.

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