(Courtesy Nebraska Athletics)
Nebraska committed five turnovers which visiting Illinois converted into 24 points as the Huskers fell to the Fighting Illini 41-23 Saturday at Memorial Stadium.
The Huskers mustered 392 yards of total offense but still slipped to 1-3. Redshirt freshman quarterback Luke McCaffrey rushed for 122 yards and two touchdowns on 26 carries while adding 134 yards on 15-of-26 passing. But the young Nebraska quarterback also threw three interceptions and fumbled on the game’s first play from scrimmage. That fumble, a short throw that was ruled a lateral and a fumble, was recovered by the Illini’s Jake Hansen to set a strange tone for the game. Three plays and 21 yards later, Illinois was in the end zone after Chase Brown’s three-yard scoring run. The touchdown put Illinois up 7-0 just 1:29 into the game.
The Fighting Illini, who improved to 2-2, finished with 490 total yards, including 285 on the ground and 205 yards passing. Brown finished the game with 110 yards and two touchdowns on 26 carries, while Mike Epstein added 113 yards on 12 carries, going over the century mark on the game’s final carry. Josh Imatorbhebhe finished with four receptions for 71 yards and a touchdown, while quarterback Brandon Peters completed 18-of-25 passes for 205 yards while adding 36 rushing yards and a touchdown of his own on eight carries. Most importantly on Saturday, Illinois did not turn the ball over.