Published Saturday, October 5, 2013 AT 3:46 PM / Updated at 9:14 PM
Tom’s Takes: Nebraska 39, Illinois 19
Tom Shatel Omaha World-Herald

Lot to like

The offensive line and Ameer Abdullah. Nebraska rushed for 335 yards. Ameer Abdullah had a career-best 225 yards. It was old-school stuff, a dominating performance. Then there was Kenny Bell’s one-handed catch, which made him a football version of Dr. J, complete with afro. Signature catch for Mr. Bell, except we’ll be waiting for him to top it.

Not so much

Giving the ball to Imani Cross, the Red Bull, and having him run wide near the goal line, resulting in a safety. Also, two missed extra points. And trying to rotate so many players on defense, trying to find the perfect matchups, which sometimes results in players not being set or hustling onto the field during the snap. Yes, Illinois presented a lot of personnel sets and groups. But sometimes you need to find the best 11 players and stick with them.

Grimminger Award

Tight end Sam Cotton, a bulldozer blocking downfield on Abdullah’s long TD run and also for that 17-yard catch on which he dragged three or four Illini defenders along for the ride.

Bottom line

Good win. Pretty in spots, workmanlike in others. A Big Ten win. Progress, but things to work on. Don’t read too much into it. On to Purdue.

About Tom Shatel

Tom Shatel is a columnist for The Omaha World-Herald. You can get in touch with Tom on Twitter (@tomshatelOWH), or send him an email at