Nebraska and Illinois have had eerily similar seasons and will take to the field to decide which fringe B1G contender is better as the Cornhuskers host the Illini Saturday afternoon. Television coverage begins at 12 p.m. ET on ESPNU.
Both teams opened with close wins over supposedly inferior competition at home (a three-point defeat of Wyoming for Nebraska, an eight-point win over Southern Illinois for Illinois) before blowing out their next opponent (Southern Miss for the Huskers, Cincinnati for the Illini). Both teams were then blown out by ranked competition at home (UCLA defeated Nebraska 41-21, Washington beat Illinois 34-24) before blowout wins of their own over a weaker opponent (South Dakota State and Miami of Ohio).
The similarities run even deeper -- both teams played all four non-conference games at home and have averaged more than 40 points per game. Illinois has one of the strongest passing games in the country, while Nebraska has relied mostly on the ground for their offensive output.
Rankings and records: Nebraska is ranked No. 25 in the Coaches' Poll and is unranked in the AP Poll. Illinois is unranked in both. Both teams are 3-1 this season. Nebraska holds a 7-2-1 all-time lead in the series and has won the last two contests between the programs.
Vegas: Nebraska is a nine-point favorite, and the over/under is 61 points. OddsShark has more.
Weather: It will be cold and windy in Lincoln.
Three names to know
Nathan Scheelhaase. He's seemingly been with the program for a decade, but he's really putting it all together in 2013. With 13 total touchdowns (including 12 through the air), Scheelhaase is one of the better passers to come through Champaign in a long, long time.
Stanley Jean-Baptiste. The senior cornerback has four interceptions and five passes broken up for the Cornhuskers this season, and will hope to limit Scheelhaase's playmaking ability on Saturday.
Quincy Enunwa. Nebraska's senior wide receiver has proved to be a reliable scoring option, with five touchdown receptions in just four games.
Two things at stake
After struggling against Wyoming and getting blown out by UCLA, Nebraska is looking to prove it's the real deal against a tough Illini team.
Illinois will hope to beat Nebraska for the first time since 1924.
How to witness
TV: 12 p.m. ET on ESPNU.
Online streaming: WatchESPN. XFINITY customers can stream online here.