No. 17 Illinois (6-1, 3-1 Big Ten) in Nebraska (3-4, 2-2), Saturday 3:30 p.m. ET (ABC)
Line: Illinois at 7 1/2,
Series record: Nebraska leads 13-5-1.
WHAT’S AT Stake?
The Illini remain in first place in the Big Ten West with one win alone and fall into a three-way tie with Nebraska and Purdue with one loss. They have won five straight games and six of their first seven for the first time since the 2001 Sugar Bowl team. Nebraska is looking to win 3-2 under interim head coach Mickey Joseph and fight for the division title in November.
Illinois secondary against Nebraska QB Casey Thompson. The Illini lead the nation in defending passing efficiency after intercepting 12 passes and allowing just two touchdowns through the air. Thompson’s interception rate of 3.83% (8 on 209 attempts) is worse among Big Ten quarterbacks who have started in every game, and the 19 sacks he’s taken is the third-most in the league.
PLAYER TO SEE
Illinois: RB Chase Brown leads the nation with 1,059 yards, second in rushes for at least 10 yards (35), third in all-purpose yards (1,166), and fourth in yards to contact (621). His 29.6 scrimmage touches per game leads the nation.
Nebraska: WR Trey Palmer is fourth in the nation at 111.6 yards per game after setting a school record with 237 against Purdue on Oct. 15. Its speed will challenge the Illinois DBs.
Nebraska LB Nick Henrich, who has started the last four games, is out for the season with a knee injury. He finished fifth on the team in tackles despite missing two games. … Illinois has won four consecutive wins against Western opponents for the first time since the Big Ten went into the current divisions in 2014. … Nebraska has lost to top-25 opponents 19 straight times since beating Oregon in 2016. … Illinois is outscoring opponents 77-17 in the second half. … Bret Bielema’s 11-8 start as Illinois coach is the best since John Mackovic’s 12-6-1 in the 1988-89 seasons.