Nebraska 20
Illinois 7

Oct. 6, 2023 • 7:05 p.m. Central
Memorial Stadium •Champaign, IL • FS1
1st2nd3rd4th F 
Big gain at right time

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Heinrich Haarberg’s throw from the end zone and Marcus Washington’s catch for a 39-yard gain got Nebraska out of unfavorable field position after the Husker defense stopped Illinois at the goal line in the first quarter.

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First quarter
NU: Tristan Alvano 31 field goal, 1:59 
Second quarter
NU: Anthony Grant 1 run (Alvano kick) 6:37
NU: Heinrich Haarberg 25 run (Alvano kick) 6:27
IL: Pat Bryant 46 pass from Luke Altmyer (Caleb Griffin kick) 1:31 
Third quarter
NU: Alvano 32 field goal, 8:16

                          NU         IL
FIRST DOWNS ............. 18         16
  RUSHING ................ 9          1
  PASSING ................ 8         14
  PENALTY ................ 1          1
RUSHES-NET YDS ...... 49-158      19-21
NET YDS PASSING ........ 154        289
  COMP-ATT-INT ..... 12-24-1    29-47-1
TOTAL OFFENSE ....... 73-312     66-310
FUMBLES-LOST ........... 3-2        2-1
PENALIZED-YDS ........ 10-70       3-30
PUNTS-AVERAGE ....... 4-33.8     5-32.8
PUNT RETURNS-YDS ....... 0-0        0-0
K.O. RETURNS-YDS ...... 1-22        0-0
INTERCEPTIONS-YDS ..... 1-39        1-0
POSSESSION TIME ...... 37:13      22:43
THIRD-DOWN CONV. ...... 5-15       4-15
FOURTH-DOWN CONV. ...... 1-1        1-4
RED ZONE SCORES ........ 3-6        0-2
SACKS BY-YARDS ......... 2-5        1-4

  NU: Heinrich Haarberg 18-82; Anthony Grant 20-56; Emmett Johnson 7-29; Josh Fleeks 1-1.
  IL: Kaden Feagin 5-15; Reggie Love 7-9; Luke Altmyer 7-minus-3.

  NU: Heinrich Haarberg 12-24-1 154.
  IL: Luke Altmyer 29-47-1 289.

  NU: Thomas Fidone 3-42; Marcus Washington 1-39; Billy Kemp 3-26; Ty Hahn 1-21; Alex Bullock 2-16; Janiran Bonner 1-5; Malachi Coleman 1-5. 
  IL: Pat Bryant 4-76; Isaiah Williams 8-57; Casey Washington 4-55; Ashton Hollins 3-26; Tip Reiman 3-24; Griffin Moore 2-22; Kaden Feagin 3-11; Reggie Love 1-10; Hank Beatty 1-8.

Attendance: 46,703
Big gain at right time

Embed from Getty Images

Heinrich Haarberg’s throw from the end zone and Marcus Washington’s catch for a 39-yard gain got Nebraska out of unfavorable field position after the Husker defense stopped Illinois at the goal line in the first quarter.

Embed from Getty Images


Stats & Recap
Complete Stats
Complete stats

Huskers stifle Illinois’ run game in road win

Nebraska used two touchdowns in a 10-second span of the second quarter to pull away from Illinois and record a 20-7 win in Champaign.

The Huskers’ defense came up big, holding Illinois to 21 yards on the ground and coming up with timely stops — including a pivotal one at the goal line early on.

The game opened with the Illinois offense looking like a well-oiled machine. The Illini moved the ball right down the field, but the Husker defense rose up when it mattered most, stopping Illinois inside the Nebraska 1 on third and fourth downs.

Starting just inches from their own goal, the Huskers needed breathing room. They got that and more on second down when Heinrich Haarberg heaved the ball downfield to Marcus Washington for 39 yards. Tristan Alvano capped the 86-yard drive with a 31-yard field goal for a 3-0 lead with two minutes left in the first quarter.

That’s how matters stood until Nebraska drove 76 yards in the middle of the second quarter. A fourth-and-5 pass from Haarberg to Alex Bullock kept the drive alive, and Anthony Grant’s 1-yard run made it 10-0.

Then disaster struck for Illinois. The Illini failed to field Nebraska’s short kickoff into the wind, and the Huskers’ Grant Tagge recovered at the 25. On the next play, Haarberg ran it up the middle on a read option for a touchdown, and the Huskers were up 17-0 with their second TD in just 10 seconds.

Illinois’ offense then sprang back to life, needing just five plays to go 76 yards for a touchdown. A missed 55-yard field goal try in the waning seconds of the half kept Illinois from further trimming the 17-7 deficit.

Early in the third quarter, Phalen Sanford jarred the ball loose from an Illinois receiver and Tommi Hill recovered it to set the Huskers up at the Illinois 21. Alvano’s 32-yard field goal made it a 20-7 game.

Moments later, Blaise Gunnerson blocked a punt and gave Nebraska the ball at the Illinois 22. It looked like another two-quick-scores opportunity, but Alvano missed a 36-yard field goal after the hold was bobbled. That started a trend that saw the Huskers repeatedly fail to capitalize on scoring opportunities throughout the rest of the game, thanks largely to turnovers on three consecutive series.

Run defense

The Blackshirts yielded just 21 rushing yards, including a net minus-2 yards over the game’s final 54½ minutes. | Courtesy of

Omaha World-Herald*
Lincoln Journal Star*
HuskerMax/All Huskers
More Neb. Sources
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Pregame & team info
2023 schedule
04/22White 21, Red 7
08/31@ MinnesotaL 10-13
09/09@ ColoradoL 14-36
09/16N. IllinoisW 35-11
09/23Louisiana TechW 28-14
09/30MichiganL 7-45
10/06@ IllinoisW 20-7
10/21North­westernW 17-9
10/28PurdueW 31-14
11/04@ Michigan St.L 17-20
11/11MarylandL 10-13
11/18@ WisconsinL 17-24
11/24IowaL 10-13



The Blackshirts patiently, time and time again showed the offense how to close out a team, but the offense simply was unable to comprehend what they were seeing.

HuskerMax/All Huskers

There may be a bigger early-game momentum swing than a goal-line stand, but I don’t think I’d take anything else.

All Huskers/KLIN

While the knockout blow proved difficult to land, the Blackshirts never let the game leave their grip despite offensive stumbles.


So long as this offense remains young and inconsistent, burns timeouts like bingo cards and loses wideouts at the rate I do headphones, the Husker defense has to play at a master level.

Omaha World-Herald

One of the words used to describe Nebraska last week? Hesitant. There was none of that on defense against Illinois

Lincoln Journal Star

Nebraska did all the things it used to do wrong under Scott Frost (silly penalties and turnovers) and got away with it because Illinois was so much worse.

Champaign News-Gazette

The Huskers showed resilience against the Illini, who had won three consecutive games in bully-like fashion against Nebraska. On a cold and windy night ... Nebraska did more of the bullying.

The Athletic
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