Illinois survives a late comeback by Nebraska to pull off a 30-22 win in the home opener. It was a nice debut for the new Illini head coach Bret Bielema. Illinois first score was off of a dropped punt catch inside the 2 yard line. Cam Taylor-Britt of Nebraska threw the ball out of the end zone causing a safety. Nebraska later went up 9-2 and looked like they were taking control as Cam Taylor-Britt intercepted a pass from quarterback Art Sitkowski. But a roughing the passer and unsportsmanlike penalty by Nebraska linebacker Caleb Tannor erased that momentum Nebraska was building. Illinois continued the drive and scored a touchdown to tied the game at 9.
In the final minutes of the half quarterback Adrian Martinez fumbled the ball and Illinois Calvin Hart recovered the fumble and took it to the house for a 41 yard touchdown.
Illinois took control of the game as the second half began. The Illini went on a 75 yard touchdown drive to take a 23-9 lead. Nebraska tried to comeback but ran out of time. The final score was 30-22.
It was a nice win for the Illini was was playing with a backup quarterback and had six wide receiver not playing. The Bret Bielema era begins with hopes of a bright future in Champagne. Next Saturday night UTSA will be in town to face the Illini.