45ºF

Nebraska football vs. Illinois: Time, TV schedule, game preview, score

Cornhuskers battle Fighting Illini

Quarterback Adrian Martinez #2 of the Nebraska Cornhuskers takes a snap as offensive lineman Trent Hixson #75 and offensive lineman Brenden Jaimes #76 block against the Northern Illinois Huskies at Memorial Stadium on September 14, 2019 in Lincoln, Nebraska. (Photo by Steven Branscombe/Getty Images)

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. – Nebraska has fallen from the ranks of the most prestigious college football programs in recent years with no 10-win seasons since 2012, making it easy for some to forget how consistently good it was over the previous 40 years. The Cornhuskers set their sights on becoming only the fifth program to reach 900 wins on Saturday when they pay a visit to Illinois in the Big Ten opener for both schools.

TV: 8 p.m. ET, Big Ten Network. LINE: Nebraska -13.

Nebraska had little issue earning the program's 899th win last weekend, overcoming its fair share of early mistakes (fumble, blocked extra point and blocked field goal) to post its largest margin of victory over an FBS opponent since 2015 following a 44-8 rout of Northern Illinois. "I love the way the guys finished. … We did a lot of things a lot better out there than we had the first couple of weeks and really going back longer than that. It was great to see us get in control and stay there," coach Scott Frost said after the game. The Fighting Illini opened their season with a pair of wins over Akron and Connecticut before losing at home last week to Eastern Michigan on a field goal as time expired. Illinois enjoyed its highest-scoring first quarter (17 points) in three-plus years under coach Lovie Smith but couldn't recover in time after falling behind by 14 early in the fourth quarter.

ABOUT NEBRASKA (2-1)

Dedrick Mills, who averaged less than three yards per carry in the first two games, broke out with 116 rushing yards and a touchdown on only 11 carries, ending the Huskies' 17-game streak of not allowing a 100-yard rusher in the process. "First couple of weeks, I was rushing the run instead of being patient and finding the holes. This week in practice I emphasized slowing down and making the right cuts," Mills told reporters afterward. Place kicker Barret Pickering has yet to play due to an undisclosed injury, which has forced Frost to cycle through punter Isaac Armstrong (2-for-5 field goals), freshman walk-on Dylan Jorgensen (0-for-1) and sophomore safety Lane McCallum (0-for-0), who converted three extra points last week.

ABOUT ILLINOIS (2-1)

Reggie Corbin, who missed most of the first two games with a hip pointer, moved into 19th place on the school's career rushing chart with 1,866 yards after erupting for 144 yards - his fifth career 100-yard effort - and a touchdown on 18 carries against Eastern Michigan. Junior quarterback Brandon Peters threw for a career-high 297 yards in the loss, leading to career days for junior receiver Josh Imatorbhebhe (91 yards) and sophomore tight end Daniel Barker (90). Senior linebacker Dele Harding had a career-high 17 tackles versus the Eagles - the most by an Illini defender since Clayton Fejedelem had 19 against Wisconsin in 2015 - and ranks second in the Big Ten with 30 stops.

EXTRA POINTS

1. Nebraska is 5-1 against Illinois since joining the Big Ten in 2011 and has enjoyed an average margin of victory of 21.4 points in the five wins.

2. Illini PK James McCourt is one of two FBS kickers with two 50-yard field goals this season.

3. Michigan (955), Ohio State (914), Texas (911) and Alabama (908) are the only other programs with 900 or more victories. Notre Dame (899) also has a chance to join the Cornhuskers in the exclusive club with a win at No. 3 Georgia on Saturday.

PREDICTION: Nebraska 42, Illinois 24

More college football scores