Illinois Hammered in Blowout Loss to Nebraska

The Cornhuskers and Illini combined for 1,115 yards of offense

Adrian Martinez threw for 290 yards and accounted for four touchdowns and Devine Ozigbo ran for 162 yards and three scores to lead Nebraska past mistake-prone Illinois 54-35 on Saturday.

Illinois (4-6, 2-5 Big Ten) committed turnovers on four of five full possessions spanning the halves, and Nebraska (3-7, 2-5) converted them into 24 points.

Wearing alternate uniforms to mark the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I, the Huskers rolled up 606 total yards on a raw afternoon when the wind chill dipped to 13 degrees. Illinois amassed 509 yards in the meeting of the Big Ten's worst defenses.

"There early on in the game, watching our offense executing, it was fun calling plays. It's a thing of beauty," Nebraska coach Scott Frost said.

Martinez was 24 of 34 and threw for three touchdowns, and he ran 13 times for 55 yards a TD.

Ozigbo broke a career-long 66-yard touchdown run in the second quarter and went 60 yards for another TD in the fourth to finish off the Illini. His 162 yards leaves him 42 short of becoming the Huskers' first 1,000-yard rusher since 2014.

Stanley Morgan Jr. caught eight passes for 131 yards and two TDs and moved to No. 2 on the school's all-time receiving list behind Kenny Bell.

Illinois quarterback AJ Bush, playing against the school where he spent the first two years of his college career, ran 24 times for 172 yards and three touchdowns, both career highs. He was 10 of 25 for 126 yards and threw two interceptions.

The Illini's Reggie Corbin, who ran for a career-high 213 yards last week against Minnesota, left with an injury in the middle of the second quarter. He ran nine times for 59 yards and caught one pass for 34 yards before getting hurt. He favored his right leg as he was helped off.

The Huskers converted two muffed punts by Jordan Holmes and a fumble by Bush into 17 points and led 38-21 at half.

Bush moved the Illini into Nebraska territory on the opening series of the second half but was intercepted when his pass went through Dominic Stampley's hands into safety Aaron Williams'. The Huskers then embarked on a 17-play, 82-yard drive that chewed nearly 8 minutes off the clock, with Ozigbo scoring his second touchdown for a 24-point lead.

"That's the way I want it to look around here for the future," Frost said. "I want our offense to be rolling and humming like that and having an opportunistic defense. It's hard to imagine (our) defense holding someone to three points. That doesn't matter if we can score and the defense can get the ball back for us."

Holmes' struggles were only part of Illinois' abysmal day on special teams. Marquel Dismuke broke through to block Blake Hayes' punt out the back of the end zone early in the fourth quarter for a safety.

"When you turn the ball over like that, it's tough to win," Illini coach Lovie Smith said. "When you continue to give up big runs on the defensive side of the football, run and pass, it's tough duty. When you have a couple mishaps like we did in the special teams game against a team like this at home, it's tough to win."

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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