Nebraska vs Illinois: Five Things To Watch For
1) Ameer Abdulla’s role will increase: Abdullah has already carried most of the load at running back for Nebraska this season. Now that Big Ten play has arrived he will be expected to be an even bigger contributor for the Huskers offense. Look for Abdullah to carry the ball at least 25-30 times for Nebraska this weekend.
2) Nathan Scheelhaase will pick on Nebraska’s linebackers: After Bo Pelini’s comments about Nate Gerry and Josh Banderas hitting a wall, Illinois will obviously look to attack the weak spot of the Husker defense. It is likely that David Santos will start over Banderas, and Gerry might not start either. Scheelhaase is too smart not to test the linebackers
3) Stanley Jean Baptiste will shut down his side of the field: Scheelhaase is good, but Jean Baptiste is better. Four interceptions in four games will make Illini offensive coordinator Bill Cubit think twice about throwing to his side of the field. Sure they will test him, but not very often.
4) Nebraska’s quarterback: We don’t know if Taylor Martinez will return from his turf toe injury. If he is at 100% by Saturday then he will play. If not it will probably mean Tommy Armstrong Jr. and Ron Kellogg III spitting time as they did against South Dakota State.
5) Adjustments from the coaching staff: If Illinois runs the football with efficiency how will head coach Bo Pelini and defensive coordinator John Papuchis adjust? With two weeks to prepare for this game you would think they have an effective plan B to turn to if their scheme isn’t working.