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Sunday Morning Coming Down: A World in Which “First-Place Illinois” is A Thing

A true work of Art

NCAA Football: Nebraska at Illinois
“You’re a big prick. Art Sitkowski is gonna flex on you today”
Ron Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

Well. That was certainly a day of football.

Ten B1G Things

  1. Congratulations to Iowa Hawkeyes fans on the high point of their 2021 season.
  2. The first points of the Bret Bielema era came on a safety when Nebraska WR Cam Taylor-Britt poorly handled a Blake Hayes punt. Sounds about right.
  3. Adrian Martinez ran for over 100 yards and will still be the goat in any Nebraska game in which he plays.
  4. Kids, to be “the goat” was once a bad thing.
  5. Only thing Nebraska’s going to be Top 25 in for the foreseeable future is recruiting rankings.
  6. You can insert whatever “Scott Frost has to go XX-X over his next [XX] games to match [insert coach here]” memes you want, and I’m going to laugh.
  7. Oklahoma opens as a 30-point favorite at minimum, right?
  8. Zach Charbonnet scored 3 times on 6 rushing attempts for 106 yards for UCLA. In six carries in one game, he beat his output from five games wearing maize and blue last year.
  9. We live in a world where “Artur Sitkowski, Quarterback” has defeated Nebraska. I’m going to go lie down and think about what we’ve done.
  10. What a difference a year makes: at this time last year, Nebraska was positioning themselves as a leader of the Football Teams Going Their Own Way (FTGTOW) movement. Now they’ve lost two straight to the Illini.
  11. In postgame comments, Scott Frost said that the coaching staff had prepared the offensive line for odd man fronts assuming Illinois would come out in a 3-4 or 5-2, but when they came out in 4-2-5, there was simply nothing Nebraska could do about it. This is the kind of thing that one assumes would be a leak by a disgruntled booster close to the program...if it hadn’t come from SCOTT FROST HIMSELF
  12. Illinois now has to prepare for a team with a much more formidable rushing attack than Nebraska in UTSA. Sincere McCormick is no joke.
  13. Having just lost to 2020’s last place B1G West team, Nebraska now has to find six wins to go bowling. Their crossovers are Michigan, Michigan State and Ohio State. They’re on the road at Minnesota and Wisconsin. And then there’s the elephant schooner in the room on 9/18.
  14. Did we just see the most Nebraska fans that will show up to anything called Memorial Stadium this year?

Bert sits on Scott // Illinois Fighting Illini 30, Nebraska Cornhuskers 22

At various points during the summer, Thumpasaurus asked how funny it would be if Illinois won this game.

Reader, the verdict is in: very.

Thumpasaurus: Illinois spent stretches of this game doing god knows what on offense and losing guys on defense. BUT! There were stretches where the offense actually looked like a football team, and the defense had a very strong start and then struggled in the heat while our offense stalled. The offensive line was very uneven, but showed up in the third quarter to run block. Art Sitkowski got bailed out of a terrible pick only to turn around and manage the game efficiently. He actually looked more comfortable than Peters in my opinion.

And the most outrageous part of this game is that Illinois lost their top QB and a linebacker that was really dominating his first start and also had stretches of pure offensive dysfunction…and yet it was still enough to win a Big Ten game in year 1!

Bert becomes the first Illini coach to win his first big ten game since John Mackovic in 1988.

Blake Hayes is the Heisman front runner.

BuffKomodo: Nebraska now stands at the corner of “Oh Shit” and “Not Again.” Things could go super sideways in a hurry here and may never recover. Nebby very much feels like a team that will fold like a lawn chair if things get too out of whack. They can still recover to 3-2 (Fordham, Buffalo, Sparty) but if they aren’t 3-2…ouch. Write this season off. On the bright side, if Indiana can find two rich guys to crowd fund a $10 million dollar buyout, I’m sure Nebraska can reach into its booster and find a few to donate $20 million. Cheer up big red. It could be worse! You could be….uhhhh….nevermind.

Dead Read: From the Nebraska Closing Argument: “Every year we get the same stories coming out of the Husker Industrial Complex. The linemen are bigger. The defense is hungrier. The QB is in greater command of the offense. The talent level is improving. There will be greater focus on special teams. They are working on minimizing turnovers. Nebraska will establish an interior running game. Frost has found a go-to short yardage back.

Every year we get similar results. The linemen cannot actually move a legit B1G D-line. The defense is left defending short fields. The offense muddles (between floundering and wallowing). Talent gains do not manifest on the field of play. The special teams look like they were designed in the previous day’s walk through. Negative turnover margin quashes several chances of victory. In November, the coaches discover a downhill runner and lament the fact that they did not use him in that capacity all season.” Yep, pretty much.

BigRedTwice: Well, boyfriend and I switched to the end of “She’s All That” in the mid-3rd quarter, so that was definitely a better choice than watching the rest of that game. Why was Usher the “campus DJ” in that movie? What high school ever had a “campus DJ”? Why did we pretend Rachel Leigh Cook was ugly just because she had glasses? Did you know Freddie Prinze Jr. is still married to Buffy the Vampire Slayer? So cute! Should I watch a different classic 90s teen movie during every Nebraska game this season and write about that instead? Anyway, at least vb is back in the fall this year so I can focus on that instead.

The Internet:

StewMonkey13: This is where I scream that UNL has had the best recruiting classes in the division pretty much every year.

Jesse Collins: The only thing here is that the Burrow shit is dumb. He did want to come after Nebraska had recruited a QB that they promised they would get behind and when there were three other QBs vying for the starting spot. It made sense not to go after him, and most people agreed after the first year of his LSU career. He blossomed with amazing talent and great coaching into what he did, but let’s not pretend that was a slam dunk obvious snub by any means.

The other shit here? Yeah, fucking fair. The talent gap isn’t wide btw. It’s just bad coaching and a literal inability to get out of their own way.

Asuka Katsuragi: Well, I picked the spread but didn’t have the courage to take the moneyline, and as such I left Shermanbucks on the table. C’est la vie.

Speaking of life and death, tenures have been defined by dumber postgame comments than ‘we never expected them to line up in an even front,’ but none immediately come to mind. Fire up the pools for when this glorious homecoming gets flushed because you can’t go 2-2 against modern Illinois and be long for your job.

We expect GoForThree to return to helm his flagship come Week 1, so bear with us here in the interim!