Nebraska vs Illinois: Five Things We Learned

Bruce Thorson-USA TODAY Sports

 

1) The defense is far from a finished product: There are still missed assignments, missed tackles, and mental breakdowns. They looked like an improved unit on Saturday, but until the Northwestern and Michigan games have been played it’s hard to gauge how much they have really progressed.

2) Ameer Abdullah is an All Big Ten running back: Abdullah turned in the performance of his career against the Fighting Illini. We have seen him make plays before, but he took over the game Saturday. Abdullah should be the center piece of the Husker offense moving forward. He could be the difference maker, not Taylor Martinez or Kenny Bell.

3) Tommy Armstrong Jr. is a solid game manager: I am not quite as enthusiastic about his ability to take over the starting role on a full time basis. He didn’t provide the same spark as he did against South Dakota State, then again he didn’t need to. I think if he is called upon moving forward that he can manage the offense well enough to have a chance to win. I’m not sold that he can take over a game to win.

4) Nebraska is better off relying on the run: No matter who the starting quarterback is, running the football gives Nebraska it’s best chance to win. If they can continue to establish it as their identity it will make the wide receivers that much more effective. Using Abdullah, Imani Cross, and Terrell Newby often is a luxury. Not many teams have three quality backs that all bring something different to the table. Ride those bulls until someone can stop it.

5) Bo Pelini and John Papuchis are not on the same page: When a team has a game in hand as the fourth quarter is winding down, you don’t expect to see the head coach and defensive coordinator screaming at one another. There were obvious problems with rotating players on Illnois final offensive drive, so it is safe to say that the discussion between the coaches was caused by the miscues. Pelini and Papuchis need to tighten up this defense in the next few weeks, so it was discouraging to see the argument.

Topics: Ameer Abdullah, Bo Pelini, John Papuchis, Nebraska Cornhuskers Football, Nebraska Vs Illinois

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