Sam McKewon and Rich Kaipust break down the key plays in the Nebraska-Illinois game, one quarter at a time.
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Randy Gregory: The Husker defensive end tackles Illinois QB Nathan Scheelhaase for a 2-yard loss on second down, then chases him out of bounds on third down.
Ameer Abdullah: The zigzagging Husker tailback has a signature drive. He rumbles 11 yards on a toss play. Then, he weaves his way through traffic on an outside zone play for 30 yards to the Illinois 2. Abdullah finishes off the drive with a TD, plowing into the end zone.
Donovonn Young: Illinois’ junior running back breaks a 10-yard run. His next run of 17 yards is equally impressive, but he fumbles. NU safety LeRoy Alexander recovers. The play is upheld after a review.
Tommy Armstrong: The NU quarterback hits receiver Quincy Enunwa for a 26-yard gain.
Imani Cross: The NU running back rumbles for 14 yards, pushing down TE Jake Long in the process.
Armstrong: Hits Ameer Abdullah for 15 yards on third-and-13 and finds Enunwa for a 4-yard TD on third-and-goal. NU leads 14-0.
Josh Ferguson: The shifty Illinois running back twice scoots for 9 yards, then catches a 12-yard pass on third down. Illinois moves to the NU 24-yard line.
Stanley Jean-Baptiste: On fourth-and-11, the Husker defensive back dislodges a Scheelhaase pass from receiver Steve Hull, forcing a turnover on downs.
Enunwa: Catches his second long pass, a 31-yarder, this time from Ron Kellogg.
Kellogg: Spells Armstrong but fails to lead NU to a touchdown. He misses an open Enunwa in the end zone, throwing low and behind his target. Pat Smith kicks a 27-yard field goal.
Ferguson: On Illinois’ ensuing drive, he bolts for 23 yards out to the NU 41.
Scheelhaase: Scrambles for 17 yards on third-and-12 — NU brought a four-man rush — before hitting former Iowa Western receiver Martize Barr for 14 yards. Illinois eventually moves inside the NU 10.
Ciante Evans: After a quiet couple of weeks, the NU cornerback makes noise, hitting Young for a 3-yard loss and sacking Scheelhaase for an 11-yard loss on a bring-the-house blitz. NU forces a 38-yard field goal from kicker Taylor Zalewski.
Enunwa: Catches a 19-yard pass on third-and-2 to kick-start NU’s ensuing drive.
Armstrong: On third-and-4, he checks into a hot read option call and pitches to Abdullah, who scoots 12 yards for the first down.
Cross: On third-and-goal from the 2, he bulls his way into the end zone. Smith misses the extra point, and Nebraska leads 23-3.
Tim Beck: After NU forces a punt, it starts at its own 3-yard line. The Husker offensive coordinator calls three running plays, and the third is a puzzler — an outside run by Cross — that results in a safety. Cross stumbled on the play, was initially hit at the 1, fought his way off the tackle and was swarmed in the end zone.
Abdullah: He’s the star of NU’s first second-half drive, ripping off a 43-yard TD run worthy of Reggie Bush. Abdullah takes an option pitch right, cuts back behind the strong blocking of Quincy Enunwa and Cethan Carter, breaks a tackle at midfield and sprints to the goal line, leaping over it.
Scheelhaase: Completes a 15-yard pass to tight end Jon Davis.
Ferguson: Bulls for runs of 4, 9 and 4 yards. Later on the drive, he catches a 13-yard pass from Scheelhaase on fourth-and-5.
Scheelhaase: On third-and-9, he hits Davis for 14 yards down to the NU 1. Young scores on the following play, and Illinois cuts NU’s lead to 30-12. But the drive took seven minutes.
Evans: He blitzes again and deflects the pass. NU defensive end Jason Ankrah catches it before it hits the ground.
Kenny Bell: Makes the play of his career with a one-handed catch on a poor pass from Armstrong. Bell accentuates the catch by hitting the ground in stride and bolting to the end zone for a 37-yard TD.
Abdullah: After NU holds Illinois on downs, he caps off the third quarter in style with a 33-yard run.
Abdullah: The junior goes over 200 yards for the first time in his career with a 22-yard run.
Armstrong: NU has a chance to pad its lead, but Armstrong misses tight end Trey Foster in the end zone on a fourth-down play.
Cross: He fumbles at the Illinois 31. Kenny Nelson recovers for the Illini after a 12-yard gain.
Smith: The senior connects on his second field goal with a 32-yarder.
Ferguson: He goes in on a 1-yard run with 57 seconds remaining.