>>Illinois Set To Meet #19 Nebraska Saturday
(Lincoln, NE) -- Big Ten Conference action gets underway for a pair of teams on Saturday night, as the surprising Illinois Fighting Illini hit the road to challenge the 21st-ranked Nebraska Cornhuskers.
Illinois, which won a total of four games all of last season, is on the verge of matching that win total as the team has logged a 3-1 mark by beating Youngstown State (28-17), Western Kentucky (42-34) and Texas State (42-35), sandwiched around a loss at Washington (44-19). Despite their early success, Tim Beckman's squad will have its hands full with the majority of its
conference foes so improving much beyond last year's four wins won't be easy.
Josh Ferguson ran for a career-high 190 yards and accounted for a pair of touchdowns in helping Illinois battle from behind to take down visiting Texas State last Saturday. It was the third time in as many victories that the Illini had to overcome a second-half deficit.
In addition to Ferguson's performance, quarterback Wes Lunt went 25-of-39 for 266 yards, with two touchdowns and an interception, hitting Mike Dudek seven times for 90 yards and a score.
Lunt has hit the mark on 65.8 percent of his throws for 1,237 yards, 11 TDs and only three INTs this season. Dudek paces the club with 19 grabs for 249 yards and three scores, while ferguson has 316 yards and three TDs on 50 carries (6.3 ypc).
Nebraska used a punishing ground attack to topple visiting Miami last week, as Ameer Abdullah ran for 229 yards and two touchdowns. Adding another score on a short pass play in the second quarter, Abdullah wound up with a career-high 313 all-purpose yards in helping the Huskers to 456 yards of total offense. Tommy Armstrong, Jr. completed only nine passes, tallying 113 yards with a pair of TDs and one INT. He did add 96 yards on 13 totes to complement the effort of Abdullah. Kenny Bell finished with four grabs for 70 yards and a
From a defensive standpoint, the Cornhuskers were on their game with regard to stopping the run, as the Hurricanes tallied just 76 yards on 23 attempts. The visitors did however, generate 359 yards via the pass, scoring three TDs along the way.
For the season, Nebraska is scoring more than twice as many points as the opposition (45.5 to 20.2 ppg), and the offense is generating 559.8 ypg compared to only 329.8 ypg for the enemy. The Huskers run for 329 ypg, ranking them fifth in the country heading into action this week, and their total yardage ranks them eighth.
>>ISU Returns To Action Saturday Hosting Austin Peay
The No. 22-ranked Illinois State football team is off to a 2-0 start, after a strong 34-15 defeat of in-state foe Eastern Illinois in the Mid-American Classic on Sept. 13. The Redbirds will face another Ohio Valley Conference foe on Saturday, when they welcome the Austin Peay Governors (0-3) to Hancock Stadium for the final non-conference match up of the season. Kickoff under the lights is set for 6:30 p.m.
>>Illini WR Allison Expected To Play Saturday
Illinois receiver Geronimo Allison will play when the Illini take on No. 21 Nebraska on Saturday.
According to the pregame injury report released Thursday night, however, defensive tackle Teko Powell won't take to the field.
Allison missed the Texas State game last weekend with an ankle injury. This week's injury report did not include Allison, who is among the team's leading receivers with 16 catches for 300 yards and two touchdowns.
Powell has played in three games so far and has eight tackles.
Illinois (3-1) faces the Cornhuskers (4-0) at 9 p.m. Saturday.